India, Egypt hope to double trade by 2011

April 15th, 2008 - 7:50 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) India and Egypt are confident of doubling trade to about $5.6 billion from the current $2.8 billion as both countries have agreed to aggressively work towards signing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). “With the current rate of growth that we are having at this moment… we have currently $2.8 billion in trade and we can double that in two years,” said Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Rachid Mohamed Rachid, who is on a two-day visit to India.

“In this visit, we have discussed setting up of a joint study group to establish an economic agreement between India and Egypt to establish a free trade agreement in trade and services,” Rachid added.

The Egyptian minister is heading a 40-member high-powered business delegation and is scheduled to meet CEOs of leading Indian conglomerates such as the Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Group and Essar Group.

“We have a great deal to offer one another as economic partners, but this considerable untapped potential is not yet reflected in our trade and investment numbers. That is why we are looking to boost economic ties between us,” he added.

Egypt has also invited Indian companies to set up exclusive industrial zones there.

Total Indian exports to Egypt stood at $731 million in 2006 and at $505.2 million in the first six months of 2007.

Large-scale Indian companies that are already doing business in Egypt are Aditya Birla Group, Reliance and Essar.

India’s investment into Egypt currently stands at around $800 million with projects worth $3 billion currently under various stages of development.

“We consider Egypt as a very important economic partner as it acts as the gateway to the important markets of Africa, Europe and Mediterranean,” said India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath.

“Both the countries are having enormous growth in exports and we will increase it significantly and I am sure this growth can be sustained,” Kamal Nath added.

The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has plans to invest $11 billion in oil refining, petrochemicals and plastics industries in Egypt.

The two countries have identified pharmaceuticals, IT, oil and gas, agriculture and food processing as some of key areas for closer collaboration.

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