'India APEC membership may be years away'
APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, has 21 member economies accounting for more than a third of the world's population and 46 percent of world trade volume, but India, despite its robust and growing economy, is not among them.
"You cannot talk about trade in Asia-Pacific if you do not talk about India," Juan Capunay, who recently took up the top managerial post of APEC said in an interview at the group's Singapore headquarters.
While Indian membership would be "convenient" for APEC, it "will have to negotiate membership according to World Trade Organisation regulations" and gain consensus support from existing members, a process that would likely take several years and also depend on Doha global trade talks, Capunay said.
In any case, APEC does not intend to approve any new members until 2010, with membership becoming effective the next year. The first new Asian member may come from Southeast Asia, he said.
He did not name a specific country, but Laos and Cambodia are among those from Southeast Asia not part of APEC. Any new Asian member should be matched with one from Latin America, he said.
"Admission of new membership has to follow some kind of regional balance. One for Asia, it could be anyone in Asia, and one for Latin America," he said, adding that the consensus among
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