India today said it has set up a joint study group to examine the possibility of a free trade pact with the 19-nation Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).
"A joint study group has been constituted with Comesa to examine the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)/ Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Comesa," Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said at a CII event here.
Besides, he said, India is exploring possibilities of entering into similar agreements with the East Africa Community (EAC) and Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas).
India is giving more emphasis on new markets including Latin America and Africa for increasing exports.
Stating that a market diversification strategy is important for exports growth, Scindia said the demand in traditional markets is projected to be relatively low due to sluggish economic growth. Against this, emerging economies are expected to grow at about 6.5%.
"Thus, focus on free trade agreements is an important part of the strategy to promote the country's exports," he said.
Besides, India is in the process of negotiating a PTA with the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) member countries comprising of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.
India has already implemented free trade pacts with South Korea and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
In March this year, Indian and African leaders had agreed to vastly increase bilateral trade to $90 billion by 2015.
In 2011, the bilateral trade between India and Africa stood at $62 billion.