Calling for full play to investment and trade issues, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that India was finalising a Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement with ASEAN.
Addressing the East Asia Summit before leaving for Singapore, the prime minister also expressed concern over the Eurozone crisis and hoped it will get resolved soon.
“Against the global economic background that we are in, it is all the more important that we give full play to flows of trade, investment, services and ideas among ourselves,” Manmohan Singh said.
“Howsoever complex the task, we should persevere with the project of East Asian economic integration and in our efforts towards a Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia or CEPEA.
“India is working actively to integrate with this region. We are in the process of finalising a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with ASEAN.”
He said India had concluded similar agreements with South Korea, Malaysia and Japan. “An agreement is already in place with Singapore. We have commenced negotiations for a CECA with Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.”
Manmohan Singh, an economist of repute, said the global economic situation was showing several signs of stress. “However, the emerging market countries in Asia are growing well and are in fact contributing to the recovery of the world economy.
“India is a part of this process. We have grown at an average of 8.4 per cent in the past five years. Like other countries we too have slowed down in 2011, but we still expect to grow around 7.5 per cent.
“However, none of us can prosper in isolation to the rest of the world. The most serious fault line at present is what is happening in Eurozone. “We all have a stake in an early resolution of the Eurozone crisis.”
The prime minister said rapid economic growth was the most enduring strategy to overcome the global economic slowdown.