Dubai, Aug.30 : India's Textiles Minister, Shankersinh Vaghela, has said that his country is keen on setting up a permanent pavilion in the United Arab Emirates to display its wide variety of handicrafts to the people of the Gulf region and western tourists.
Addressing a seminar on 'Brand Image Promotion of Indian Handicrafts', Vaghela was quoted by Gulf News as saying that a draft plan has been drawn up to popularise the country's exquisite handmade wares with the aid of the regional media vehicle through print and television advertisements.
He also said that he had "fruitful discussions" with the authorities on cutting down delays at UAE ports.
UAE is the fourth-largest importer of Indian handicrafts with the total volume of the wares valued at 215.36 million dollars in 2007-08. India exports the largest quantity of handicrafts to the US, the value standing at 1119.84 dollars in 2007-08.
The bulk of UAE's imports of Indian handicrafts consist of hand-knitted and crocheted goods, including carpets. Other popular items include art metal ware, hand-printed textiles and scarves, wood ware, zari-related goods, shawls, imitation jewellery, etc.
Rakesh Kumar, executive director of India's Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, said 900 more vendors would set up shop very soon at the new India Expo Centre and Mart at Greater Noida in New Delhi's suburbs.
India has 6.7 million artisans involved in handicrafts, according to 2006-07 estimates, of which 47.4 per cent are women. Its exports of handicrafts are worth 3.8 billion dollars (2006-07), witnessing an average growth of 20.72 per cent in the past five years. (ANI with Gulf News inputs)