Indian companies pitch for review of free trade pact at Indo-Japan Business Forum

New Delhi(PTI): Review of the existing free trade pact and quick implementation of the social security agreement were among the key suggestions made by Indian businesses to boost economic ties between India and Japan.

India-Japan Business Leaders Forum

These recommendations were made by Indian side during the India Japan Business Leaders Forum meeting here on Saturday.

The Indian side, co-chaired by Bharat Forge Chairman and Managing Director Baba Kalyani, also pitched to foster linkages between large Japanese companies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India and enhanced collaborations in the human resource space to promote the development of soft infrastructure.

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The Forum later was addressed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Modi said that the Indian government would actively consider all the recommendations of the Forum.

India and Japan had implemented Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in August 2011.

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The suggestion of free trade pact review assumes significance as the domestic steel producers have complained of surge in imports of steel products like hot-rolled steel and other variants from China, Korea and Japan.

Kalyani also suggested “review and strengthening” of the CEPA and quick implementation of the India-Japan Social Security Agreement, industry body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) said in a statement.

In May 2012, the two governments had reached an agreement to exempt their nationals to make a social security contribution in the country of their employment if they do it in their native country.

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This was aimed to ease economic burden on Indian workers in Japan.

Sadayuki Sakakibara, Co-Chairman, India Japan Business Leaders Forum, stated that Japan looks forward to continued action on the part of India in areas like ease of doing business, land acquisition, Goods and Services Tax, among others.

ICICI Bank MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar said India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. She urged Japanese companies to step up investment in India, especially in areas such as smart cities and renewable energy.

N Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD, Tata Consultancy Services highlighted the need to bridge cultural gaps to foster greater collaboration of companies of the two nations.