India for removal of NBTs by Indonesia on pharma imports

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New Delhi, Jan 18 (UNI) India has asked Indonesia to remove non-tariff barriers (NTBs) on the import of Indian pharma products.

During the bilateral meeting with Indonesian Trade Minister Ms Mari Elka Pangestu here last evening, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said removal of NBTs would benefit Indonesia in sourcing cost-effective drugs and pharmaceutical products from India.

Indian pharmaceutical products are exported to many countries, including highly regulated markets of US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Both sides also discussed NBTs on carbon black, wheat flour, uncoated writing and printing paper and milk products and apprised each other of their mutual concerns to remove barriers to free flow of trade in these goods.

The meeting was attended by the Commerce Secretary G K Pillai, DIPP Secretary Ajay Shankar, Director General of Foreign Trade R S Gujral and senior officials from various ministries of the two countries, Commerce Ministry said today. Representatives of apex trade chambers of India and Indonesia also participated.

Mr Kamal Nath underlined the potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in both the countries and their need to explore market opportunities in either country.

''The Indian SMEs sector is quite strong and will welcome engagement with their Indonesian counterparts. Indonesian products such as wood furniture, handicrafts, traditional textile (batik), and food processing can find good market opportunities in India,'' he added.

The Commerce Minister said there is a lot of scope for widening trade basket, particularly in the services sector, and highlighted the strengths of financial and banking sectors in India. He said Indian banks are interested in having stakes in Indonesia, adding State Bank of India and Bank of India are already operating there.

He invited Indonesian investment in banking sector in India, saying it would enhance confidence of Indonesian businessmen and investors to do business with India.

The Commerce Minister said first meeting of the India-Indonesia Joint Study Group (JSG), held in October 2007 in Jakarta, has agreed to complete its report by June 2008, adding the next meeting is proposed to be held in New Delhi next month.

The bilateral trade between India and Indonesia in 2006-07 was 6.20 billion dollars, 41.22 per cent up over the previous year.

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