Hua Hin, Thailand, Oct 25 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India was going to open its market to goods such as palm oil from Indonesia, as there was a huge and unsatisfied demand for vegetable oils in the country.
''India has a huge and unsatisfied demand for vegetable oils and therefore has a ready market for Indonesian palm oil,'' he said, replying to a query at a press conference if India was going to open its market goods such as palm oil from Indonesia, as it is listed on the ''highly sensitive'' list of items.
Kerala had protested the Free Trade Agreement that India signed with the ten-member ASEAN in August, objecting to slashing of duties on fish, rubber, palm oil, pepper, tea and coffee.
Dispelling apprehensions on India’s import of Indonesian palm oil, Dr Singh said India has a ready market for Indonesian palm oil and will continue to have so.
''India welcomed the negotiations on Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN countries. The President of Indonesia and I in 2005 had laid the target of 10 billion dollars trade turnover by the year 2010.
I am glad to report that the target of ten billion dollars as trade turnover by 2010 has already been reached,'' he said.
Pointing out that he had always advocated India's ''Look East Policy,'' even when he was Finance Minister 15-16 years ago to find practical, pragmatic solutions to accelerated growth in the country, the Prime Minister said, ''We are living in a world where nearly 50 per cent of the global trade is conducted in the framework of various regional arrangements. So long as these arrangements exist we have to take advantage of these regional arrangements.'' He said, ''My own view is that India’s destiny lies in working very closely with the economies of South-East Asia. I do believe that these temporary imbalances should not blind us to the long term vision that India’s destiny lies in close integration with countries of South-East Asia.'' He was in this Thai resort since Friday evening to attend the seventh India-ASEAN Summit and the Fourth East Asia Summit, that concluded this afternoon.
Later in the evening, Dr Singh met Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, before emplaning for New Delhi.