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BW Businessworld

Win Some, Lose Some

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Last week, the union cabinet approved the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean). This has paved the way for the final agreement to be signed at the forthcoming Asean meeting likely to be held in October.

Predictably, this has invited sharp criticism from the southern states, especially from Kerala. The tax-free dispensation for 4,000 items of trade including pepper, tea, coffee, spices and rubber could hit farmers, particularly in the plantation and fisheries sectors. Kerala is one of the leading producers of these products, which are protected by heavy import duties.

However, such misgivings have been proven wrong earlier in the 1990s. Liberalisation has helped Indian industry prosper. Likewise, instead of fearing the unknown, domestic plantation and fisheries sectors should take appropriate steps to become globally competitive.

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STRICTLY BUSINESS
 
Japan seems to be manufacturing its way out of recession. Factory output rose for the fourth straight month in June. Production soared 8.3 per cent in April-June from the previous quarter, surpassing the 1953 record of 7.9 per cent. Japanese firms will keep raising production to meet the demand spurred by the trillion-dollar stimulus packages.



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(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 10-08-2009)