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May 22, 2011, 02.55 PM IST
Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit here, India today said it is finalising a trade-opening pact with south African nations to step up the country's commerce with the continent to USD 70 billion by 2015.
"We are in the process of finalising a PTA with the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU). We are keen that it should be expeditiously concluded," India''s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after inaugurating ''India Show'' organised by CII.
The India-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) would enhance economic ties by reducing tariffs on several key products.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) comprises Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.
While in FTA, the countries reduce or eliminate duties on over 90 per cent items traded, in the case of PTA, the tariffs are generally lowered on lesser number of items.
Sharma, who is leading a high level CEOs delegation, said that India is also fast tracking its negotiations with the COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa).
He said with these initiatives the India-Africa trade is expected to grow from USD 46 billion last year to USD 70 billion in the next four years.
"We are confident of achieving this target and the thrust areas of trade would be agriculture, pharmaceutical, IT, gold, diamond and fertiliser," he said, adding that Africa meets 20% of India''s crude oil requirement. He said India would be setting up as many as 19 institutions across the African continent.
In the run-up to the Second Africa-India Forum Summit on May 24 to be attended by Singh, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised an India-Show here.
Well known industrialist including Sunil Bharti Mittal, Adi Godrej and Sanjay Kirloskar are participating in the event.
Sharma will have meetings with trade ministers of 15 key African countries tomorrow. He said the agenda for the meeting includes accessing Indian market by Africa for which New Delhi has announced Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme.
The Prime Minister during his six-day visit Ethiopia and Tanzania, will discuss ways to give impetus to commercial engagement between India and Africa, an official said.
Tags: India-Africa trade, India-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement , PTA, COMESA, Africa-India Forum Summit , Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Southern Africa Customs Union, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Adi Godrej, Sanjay Kirloskar, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma
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