New Delhi: India and Eurasian Economic Commission on Tuesday agreed to move towards starting negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Customs Union (CU) which comprises Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
In a bilateral meeting with Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Viktor Khristenko, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the Customs Union is an important block in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) from the point of view of India-CIS trade.
"India is of the view that the need for CECA with CU is a well established concept. We have expressed our desire to begin the negotiations for it," Sharma said.
The need for the CECA with Russia/CU has been recognised since 2006-07 and the same has been voiced during different bilateral meetings held in the past with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, he added.
Besides, the Minister conveyed to Khristenko the idea for the establishment of a Joint Study Group (JSG) for CECA between India and the CU.
Both the sides agreed to discuss the Terms of Reference for the JSG, composition of JSG and fixing the time frames for the submission of the JSG report in June 2013, when Sharma visits St. Petersburg for the International Economic Forum.
The possibility of meeting between ministers from all the concerned countries is also being explored.
India's trade with the Eurasian Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) jumped to USD 7.4 billion in 2012 from USD 6.5 billion in 2011.