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Japan to focus on regional pact, digital tech, investments during Modi’s visit

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on October 23, 2018 Published on October 23, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) who is on his third official visit to Japan will be in Tokyo on October 28-29. File Photo   -  PTI

Large Indian business delegation to discuss investment opportunities, tie-ups with Japanese counterparts

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is likely to make a case for a speedy conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (RCEP) — the ambitious trade pact being negotiated by sixteen nations including India and Japan -- during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit later this month.

Cooperation in the area of digital technology and promoting investments will also be high on the agenda, apart from defence and connectivity, according to officials close to the matter.

“Japan is very keen that the RCEP is concluded soon and important decisions are taken at the RCEP Summit next month to be attended by heads of states of the sixteen member countries. The issue is a part of the Japanese PM’s agenda for his talks with Modi,” a government official told BusinessLine.

Modi, who is on his third official visit to Japan since 2014, will be in Tokyo on October 28-29. A large business delegation of about 70 participants, which includes a number of IT companies including representatives from IT-body NASSCOM, is likely to accompany the PM.

New Delhi does not want to take on any commitments for RCEP—which includes the ten-member ASEAN, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand—before the general elections next year, but other members are keen that a ‘package of deliverables’ is agreed to by the end of 2018. “Modi will have to make it clear to Abe that India expects a better deal in services before it can give commitments in other areas of the RCEP pact,” a Commerce Ministry official said.

Promoting two-way investments and inviting Indian cooperation in digital technology will be high on the agenda for Japan, the official said.

The Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) and Nikkei Inc are scheduled to organise two seminars—one each on investments and digitisation—where Modi is scheduled to participate. “Top Ministers from Japan and representatives from companies including Suzuki Motors and Nikkei Inc are scheduled to participate in the two seminars,” the first government official said.

Some MoUs to promote investments between the two countries would be signed during the visit, the official added. The two governments are also expected to announce two agreements on naval cooperation and a concrete infrastructure project to be implemented together in South Asia.

India exported goods worth $4.7 billion (1.56 per cent of total exports) to Japan in 2017-18 posting an increase of 23 per cent over the previous year. India’s imports from Japan were worth $11 billion posting a 11 per cent growth.

Published on October 23, 2018
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