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Naked dolls hamper India-Asia trade deal
December 09, 2005 22:27 IST
Malaysia on Friday said India's move to exclude a huge chunk of ASEAN exports, including naked dolls and toilet seats, has spoilt plans for an early start to a free-trade deal.
Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said India gave the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations trade ministers a list of 1,414 items it wanted excluded from tariff cuts due to be put in place under the deal.
"It was very amusing," Rafidah said, saying the list represented 44 per cent of ASEAN's exports to the country, with a value of $ 4.76 billion.
She said the list ranged from small items like lavatory seats and covers, dolls and chewing gum to big-ticket goods such as vegetable oils and petroleum products.
She said her Indian counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, also laughed at the proposal, which was prepared by his officials and which he was apparently not aware of.
"He promised to re-look at the list," she said.
As a result, plans to slash tariffs on a selected basket of goods by next year under the so-called early harvest programme were scrapped.
"So we have decided together to move ahead straight into the FTA (free trade agreement)," she said.
Rafidah said India's list excluded 60.6 per cent of Malaysian exports to India, 100 per cent for Brunei, 65 per cent for Cambodia, 64.8 per cent for Indonesia, nearly 100 per cent for Myanmar, 17.2 per cent for the Philippines and 14.6 per cent for Singapore.
Nath said he will review the list which he admitted needed 'substantial pruning'.
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