St. Petersburg, Russia– India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will soon start negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ramesh Abhishek said on Thursday.

“India’s trade with the EAEU region is barely $8.4 billion and this is well below potential. It is for this reason that India and the EAEU had decided to set up a Joint Feasibility Study Group on the India-EAEU FTA at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in 2015.

“This report has since been finalised and accepted by India and individual EAEU countries, following which negotiations on the FTA are to be launched,” Abhishek said here.

He was speaking at a session on “Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-India: A Strategic Partnership”, being organised as a part of the SPIEF.

Abhishek stated there was a need to promote connectivity between India and the EAEU region and that the International North South Transport Corridor would be extremely critical for this purpose.

The DIPP Secretary also highlighted the role being played by the “Green Corridor” in promoting trade facilitation between India and Russia. He felt that this Corridor could be extended to the other EAEU countries in due course.

Speaking at the session, Veronika Nikishina, Minister for Trade, Eurasian Economic Commission, stated that the EAEU had so far concluded only one FTA with Vietnam and India would be the second. (IANS)