India and Belarus set trade target of USD one billion by 2018

New Delhi, Sept.8 (ANI): India and Belarus have set a trade target of USD one billion to be achieved by 2018.

This target was decided at the Seventh Session of the India-Belarus Inter-Governmental Commission that was held in Belarus capital Minsk on Monday.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman co-chaired the Seventh Session of the India-Belarus Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation.

The Belarusian delegation was led by Vitali Mikhailovich Vovk, the Minister for Industry in the Government of Belarus.

During the meeting of India-Belarus Inter Governmental Commission at Minsk, it was agreed by both the sides that the present level of trade at USD 400 million did not reflect the true depth of engagement between the two countries. It was agreed to set a target of USD one billion by the year 2018.

Both sides noted the potential to step up cooperation in pharmaceuticals and Mining machinery, energy, fertilizer, and tourism between the two countries.

Both sides reaffirmed strong ties between the two countries which were further strengthened by the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to Belarus from June 3-5, 2015, the first visit of Head of State of India to Belarus.

During the visit of the President, India offered Lines of Credit worth USD 100 million to Belarus and also accorded it the status of a free market economy.

The Belarusian side noted the recent initiatives taken by the Government of India to improve ease of doing business under “Make in India’ and further opening up of the investment regime to attract investment and technology to India. The Session discussed a number of concrete proposals to take trade and economic cooperation to the next level. Both countries also agreed to facilitate business to business contacts to promote investment flows in the two countries.

Sitharaman also called on the President of Belarus Mr. Alexander Lukashenko. In focus were issues being faced by Indian pharmaceutical companies exporting their medicines to Belarus, cooperation in potash fertilizer sector and visa concerns of Indian businessmen.

Pharmaceuticals constitute the bulk of India’s exports to Belarus amounting to about USD 35 million per annum.

The Belarusian President assured the Commerce and Industry Minister to address the concerns of Indian pharmaceutical companies operating in Belarus. It was also agreed to form a Joint Working Group to discuss further cooperation in health-care and pharmaceuticals. India and Belarus also discussed the issues relating to long term contract for supply of potash fertilizers to India and possible equity participation of Indian fertilizer companies in Belarusian company producing Potash Fertilizer.

In this connection, it was decided that an Indian government led delegation would visit Belarus to discuss all issues relating to cooperation in potash fertilizer sector. Another important decision during the IGC was to form a Joint Working Group to promote tourism between the two countries.

Both sides also expressed satisfaction in successful supply of equipment by BHEL for the reconstruction of Grodno Power Plant-2 in Belarus and hoped for further participation of Indian companies in projects for the reconstruction of power facilities in the Republic of Belarus. Belarus government has also agreed to facilitate participation of Indian companies for similar bids in Belarus in this sector.

Sitharaman also called on the Chairman of the Council of the National Assembly of Belarus, Mr. Myasnikovich Mikhail and discussed matters of mutual interest.

The two sides agreed to hold the next session of the Commission in New Delhi in 2016 on mutually convenient dates. (ANI)

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