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Tuesday, Nov 02, 2004

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`Bill allowing 100% FDI in infrastructure on cards'

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The Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, lighting the lamp to inaugurate the 32nd joint meeting of the Indo-Japan JBCC with the JIBCC Chairman, Mr Nobuo Ohashi, and the FICCI Sr. Vice-President, Mr Onkar Kanwar, in the Capital on Monday. — Kamal Narang

New Delhi , Nov. 1

INVITING the captains of Japanese industry to take a fresh look at trade and investment opportunities in India, the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, on Monday said, "We are particularly eager to get investments in infrastructure."

Speaking at the 32nd meeting of the India-Japan Business Co-operation Committees, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, he said that before the end of this year, his Ministry would be introducing a Bill in Parliament on special economic zones (SEZs).

"These will include bio-technology parks and free trade and warehousing zones. In all these, FDI up to 100 per cent would be permitted, including real estate development and establishment of zones," the Minister said.

Mr Kamal Nath also said, "Close co-operation between India and Japan was a prerequisite for making the 21st century truly the century of Asia. It is for this reason that India and Japan have jointly staked their legitimate claim along with Germany and Brazil for permanent seats in the UN Security Council."

Urging the delegation to increase trade ties with India the Minister said, "India-Japan trade amounted to $4 billion last year, showing a growth of 18 per cent over the preceding year. But while the overall growth was good, this came after a three-year stagnancy, and also there was a marked negative balance of trade in favour of Japan.

"So far the full potential of bilateral economic relationship was far from being realised and a boost was clearly required."

He pointed out that while a large number of the big names in Japan have become household names in India - Nippon, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Fujitsu and others - the actual inflow of Japanese investment in India is still low, indicating considerable degree of caution.

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