India, Ethiopia to intensify trade and investment links

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New Delhi, Oct 3 : The fifth meeting of the India-Ethiopia Joint Trade Commission will be held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on October 6.

Union Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh will be leading the Indian delegation comprising of senior officials, businessmen, export promotion councils and bankers.

A number of important bilateral agreements are expected to be signed during the meeting which include to expand the supply of raw skins and hides that are abundantly available in Ethiopia for India's growing leather manufacturing industry and to set up an apparel fashion design institute in Ethiopia with the assistance of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).

In addition, bilateral agreements on standards, small and medium enterprises and agricultural research are on the anvil. The two countries are also in the advanced stages of finalising a trade agreement to replace the earlier trade agreement signed in November 1982. India is also bidding to participate in Ethiopia's railway modernisation and expansion programme.

India is the single largest foreign investor in Ethiopia with approvals crossing 3.5 billion dollars. Of this, two billion dollars is in the agriculture and floriculture sector alone.

A number of Indian private companies have been using Ethiopia as a base for the export of flowers to Europe. Roses are the most important of the flowers being cultivated and exported out of Ethiopia.

In the context of India emerging as the single largest foreign investor in Ethiopia, the two countries are negotiating a double taxation avoidance agreement which is expected to be clinched in the next three months.

A bilateral investment promotion and agreement has already been signed between the two countries and its implementation will be announced during the meeting.

India enjoys a huge trade surplus with Ethiopia (exports in 2007/08 were over 400 million dollar and imports around 14 million dollar).

In addition, Ethiopia has large deposits of potash which could be exploited by Indian firms since India imports 100 per cent of its requirements of potassic fertilisers. India has already notified the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme for import from 34 LDCs including Ethiopia following its announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008.

ANI

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