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Commerce ministry negotiating 21 trade agreements: Nirmala

PTI | New Delhi |

The commerce ministry is negotiating as many as 21 trade agreements, including with Israel and Mauritius, Parliament was informed on Monday.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said the negotiations for a free trade agreement are a continuous process and it is difficult to set a timeline for their conclusion.

She said that before starting talks for such pacts, studies are carried out internally as well as through joint study groups to look at the feasibility of such pacts.

"The Department of Commerce is negotiating 21 trade agreements including with Israel and Mauritius," she said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

India is negotiating FTAs with countries including European Union, Sri Lanka, Thailand, New Zealand and Canada.

Replying to a separate question, she said India has exported 53,490 livestock in April this fiscal and 12,02,841 in the last fiscal.

In a separate reply, she said out of the country's total imports of drugs of USD 4.45 billion in 2016-17, imports from China stood at USD 1.96 billion, which is 44.1 per cent.

"One of the reasons for imports from China is the price competitiveness of these products," Sitharaman added.