India, UAE agree to push to economic ties

Monday, 28 May 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Monday agreed to push their economic ties, even as they exchanged a set of demands that will expand bilateral trade and investments.

At a meeting here between India's Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and the UAE's Economy Minister Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, India sought permission for Indian banks, like the State Bank of India (SBI), to open branches in the Gulf country.

Kamal Nath also requested the visiting minister to lift a ban on the import of poultry products from India and the removal of trade barriers in areas like work permits, visas and import of pharmaceuticals, chemicals and allied products.

The UAE, in turn, referred to some anti-dumping measures taken by India on their products and companies and matters relating to the successful establishment and implementation of the joint Alumina project in Orissa.

The two minister later led their respective sides for the first India-UAE Trade Policy Forum where it was felt that the bilateral trade must be enhanced from the level of $12.9 billion in 2005-06.

Of this, India's exports to the UAE were valued at $8.59 billion and imports from the UAE at $4.31 billion.

It was mentioned that the UAE is one of India's top trading partners and represented 75 percent of Indian exports to member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and 6 percent of its overall global exports.

The two leaders are also scheduled to participate in a two-day meeting between India and six member states of the GCC in Mumbai from May 29 to give a major push to bilateral trade and investment.

Kamal Nath will head his side's delegation to the third such meeting with a 300-member team of ministers and officials from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The event will comprise plenary sessions on investing in India, investing in the GCC states and on four sectors, namely real estate, energy including oil, gas and power, petrochemicals and infrastructure, officials said.

Besides Kamal Nath, the meeting will be addressed by Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai, Industry Secretary Ajay Dua and T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to the prime minister.
Source: IANS
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