India-Belgium keen on strengthening bilateral ties

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New Delhi, Nov 4 : Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath today said that India and Belgium are keen on strengthening the bilateral relation by diversifying and boosting trade between the two countries.

While addressing the Luncheon Session on "India and Belgium Partners in a Globalised World" with His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgians, here, the Minister said that the bilateral trade between the two countries during 2007-08 was US 8.6 dollars billion representing a growth of 13 per cent over the 2006-07 trade which stood at US 7.6 billion dollars.

"The economic wellbeing of countries is intrinsically linked to the health of the global economy and added that the importance of strengthening partnership is well recognized and both the countries have been working constantly towards this," he added.

He further said that trade in services is another sector that has the potential to create mutually beneficial opportunities and Belgium, with changing demographics would increasingly need the services of professionals.

"India can provide such skills and expertise, especially in the fields of health, IT and engineering. A facilitative visa regime will be helpful in boosting Indo-Belgian trade in services", he added.

Nath informed that India and Belgium share a long history of business relationship and Belgium is an important trading partner for India and is in top five trading partners in the European Union.

Both Indian and Belgium felt that they should work towards facilitating business to business contacts, focusing on SMEs and to create an enabling business environment. They also agreed for a regular interaction between the two countries for providing useful opportunity to discuss means of widening the bilateral economic and commercial engagement.

India's major items of exports to Belgium are: natural pearls, iron and steel, organic chemicals, apparels, marine products, tobacco and plastics. India's major items of imports from Belgium: iron and steel, nuclear reactors, plastic article, electronic machinery, optical and surgical instruments.

ANI

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