India is likely to sign two major pacts in February, liberalising trade in goods and services with Japan and Malaysia by slashing or eliminating duties.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is expected to visit Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur between February 14 and 18 for signing the pacts -- Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with Malaysia, an official told PTI.
"Formalities for signing these agreements have been completed," the official said.
The agreements are aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs over 90 per cent of the goods traded between the countries.
Besides, they include opening of trade in services- an area of particular interest to India.
A framework pact with Malaysia was finalised during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs visit to Malaysia in October 2010.
The agreement is expected to come into effect from July and would give a boost to the $8 billion bilateral trade in 2009-10.
India has already opened its trade in goods with the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations in January 2010.
Malaysia is a member of ASEAN.
The CECA with Malaysia is over-and-above the free trade pact between India and ASEAN countries.
It will give Malaysia concessions for export of palm oil and related products.
"India will be benefited in sectors like textiles and services (IT, lawyers and accountants) in Malaysia.
"While Malaysia will get advantage in tourism and event management, besides other areas in India," the official said.
In the India-Japan CEPA, both the sides would relax barriers on trade in goods, investment, services and movement of professionals, besides enhanced cooperation on protection of intellectual property.
Negotiations on the CEPA was concluded during Singh's visit to Tokyo in October. The pact is expected to be implemented in April.
The agreement would boost the two-way commerce which stood at about $11 billion in 2009-10.
India is also looking for FDI from Japan, besides easy access for its professionals in areas like IT, healthcare and food.
Japanese foreign direct investment into India stood at a mere $4.2 billion out of the its cumulative $121 billion since 2000.
India has already operationalised comprehensive pacts with South Korea and Singapore and is in final stage of negotiations with the European Union.