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India-Israel to discuss FTA issue next month

NEW DELHI: Israel today said it wants progress on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India and a meeting to discuss various aspects of the proposed comprehensive pact will be held in Jerusalem next month. 

"We discussed this extensively today with Minister of Commerce ( 
Anand Sharma). Together we decided to make progress. There is going to be meeting on this in Jerusalem in a month and the Minister and I agreed to circle back in Bali in December," Minister of Economy of Israel Naftali Bennett said here. 

"We want to progress on 
Free Trade Agreemnt... Both sides are very keen. What is unique about the FTA is that it is very comprehensive and its way beyond merchandise, it includes service and talent," he said. 

When asked as to when will the pact see light of the day, Bennett said: "Over the next few months we anticipate significant progress." 

India and Israel, which commenced the negotiations in 2007, had concluded the seventh round of talks in June this year. 

At present, the bilateral trade between the two nations is USD 5 billion. 

"The bilateral trade (between India and Israel) is $5 billion, at present. I think it could easily be doubled in the next five years, if we take this FTA forward," Bennett had told reporters on the sidelines of a CII event here yesterday. 

"I think we need to proceed in the negotiations vis-a-vis the FTA which will be really good for us. I think there is a great future for these two democracies," he had said.