New Delhi: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on Wednesday said that a free trade agreement (FTA) with US is a good idea.

"If you can do an FTA (with US) that is a good idea, but the most important thing is to expand business relationship with special focus on technology area," Ahluwalia said.

FTA is an arrangement in which goods and services are traded without restrictions between the countries involved.

India is negotiating trade pacts with several countries and groups, including the European Union. But no such talks are under way with the US.

Ahluwalia said, "US is not very cost competitive manufacturer. We should try to bring the US investment in the area of technology. It is a very important market and we should try to penetrate into that."

He suggested that India can also increase its exports to the US to the level that China has already achieved.

"China is exporting ten times more than us to the US. We should try to access that market. There is no reason why we should not be as competitive as China," he added.

About allowing foreign universities investing in India, he said, "There is nothing stopping Indian universities tying up with foreign universities. I am in favour of foreign universities investing in India."

Emphasizing on the need to improve standards of educational institutions in the country he said, "We need massive improvement in public and private universities."

(Agencies)