India, Israel to negotiate free trade pact

February 18th, 2010 - 7:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Feb 18 (IANS) India and Israel have decided to negotiate a bilateral free trade pact, even as the two sides will work towards improved cooperation in areas like biotechnology.
This was the outcome of a 45-minute meeting between Minister of State for Commerce Jyotiraditya Scindia and Israeli President Shimon Peres that was also attended by the Indian envoy here Navtej Sarna.

“The two leaders also agreed to continue to place emphasis on ties in the application of science and technology, particularly in areas related to agriculture and water management,” an Indian official said.

“It was also mutually agreed that the next meeting of the Joint Trade and Economic Committee should be held at an early date in New Delhi,” he said, adding that the challenges posed by global terrorism were also discussed.

During his other engagements here, Scindia proposed a practical step to enhance high-tech cooperation with a joint technology incubator initiative in India with representation from both sides.

The minister also met top Israeli industrialists to discuss promotion of trade and commerce between the two countries and delivered an address on “Indian Economy in the Next Decade — An Engine for Growth.”

Bilateral trade between India and Israel was worth $3.5 billion in 2008-09, with exports from India amounting to $1.5 billion, while imports out of Israel were valued at $2.09 billion.

Bilateral trade increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 15 percent over the last five years.

Scindia’s engagements included a visit to a biomedical incubator dealing with infrastructure support for start up companies and an Indo-Israeli joint venture dealing with drip irrigation.

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