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India, Malaysia sign CECA; set $15 bn trade target

Kuala Lumpur: Seeking to give new impetus to the bilateral relations, India and Malaysia today formally announced firming up of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to boost trade and decided on a range of other engagements in various sectors, including defence, reports PTI.

The two sides signed five pacts in various areas after wide-ranging talks between prime minister Manmohan Singh and his Malaysian counterpart Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and resolved to impart strategic dimension to their relations.

Signing a document with regard to announcement of CECA, the two leaders said the agreement, aimed at allowing freer movement of goods, services and investments, would come into effect on 1st July next year.

"Today marks a turning point in India, Malaysia relations," Mr Singh told a press conference after the meeting.

He said the discussions with Mr Razzak had laid the basis for multi-faceted partnership between the two countries.

The two prime ministers also launched the CEO's Forum, which is expected to help forge closer and deeper economic engagement between business and industry of the two countries.

"India welcomes greater investment from Malaysia in infrastructure and manufacturing sector and Indian companies would also want to do business in Malaysia," Mr Singh said.

Mr Razzak said Malaysia would be happy to share India's economic success and join its journey for economic development of the country.

"We must give new impetus to this relationship. I indicated to prime minister Singh that Malaysia is ready for deeper and more intensive relationship," he said

Mr Razzak said the two countries have set a trade target of $15 billion by 2015 and expressed confidence CECA will help achieve it.

Noting that expansion of mutual investment would contribute to reciprocal economic growth of both countries, the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation and support at government level to further strengthen existing bilateral collaboration in infrastructure development.

The involvement in infrastructure projects, particularly in the construction industry, is expected to provide bigger opportunities in investment through joint business and governmental collaboration, the two leaders said.

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