India, South Africa CEOs seek removal of trade barriers

August 29th, 2011 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Business executives of India and South Africa Monday urged the governments of the two countries to remove trade barriers to help boost the bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2014.

Some 35 CEOs from the two countries discussed the issues impacting bilateral trade and urged the governments to liberalise norms and reduce duties.

Co-chaired by Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Group and Patrice Motsepe, executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, this was the second meeting of the India-South Africa CEO Forum. The first forum meeting took place in Johannesburg in August 2010.

Taking forward the agenda of the first meeting, the sectoral groups led by their respective chairmen discussed at length issues like “tariff barriers, visa constraints, early finalisation of preferential trade agreement and technology transfer”.

“If addressed in the right manner would help in promoting bilateral trade and investments,” the Confederation of Indian Industry said in a statement after the meeting.

Addressing the forum, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said India-South Africa bilateral trade was likely to reach $15 billion before 2014 deadline.

“We are satisfied on the growth of trade and investment relations between the two countries. We are hopeful to achieve the target of $15 billion in the year 2014,” he said.

India-South Africa bilateral trade surged 37.64 percent to $10.64 billion in 2010-11. It included Indian exports to South Africa of $4.16 billion and imports of $6.48 billion.

South Africa’s Trade Minister Rob Davies also addressed the forum. “The meeting addressed the challenges and constraints hampering the growing economic partnership,” an official statement released after the meeting said.

Sectoral groups on financial services, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, infrastructure and energy, manufacturing and mining came out with a set of comprehensive recommendations which focused on constraints and issues that confronted businesses on both sides in these sectors.

The CEOs presented the sector specific recommendations to the two ministers.

During the first India-South Africa CEO Forum, the members had agreed to form jointly explore business opportunities in Africa in diverse fields such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, food processing, automobiles, components, biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, infrastructure, roads and railways.

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