Egypt to set up zone for Indian companies

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New Delhi, Nov 17 (UNI) Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath today welcomed the Egyptian proposal of establishing an industrial zone in the African nation exclusively for the Indian companies.

Speaking at a business session with Egypt President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak here today, he said Egypt has traditionally been one of India's most important trading partners in the African continent and it alone accounts for almost 40 per cent of the country's trade with Northern Africa.

He said Egypt's strategic location makes it a gateway to the 20-country Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the 27-nation European Union and the Arab Free Trade Area.

Mr Kamal Nath said both the countries are already benefiting from a bilateral investment protection pact since 2000.

However, he said there is enormous potential for expanding the bilateral trade by diversifying the trade basket. He listed steel, construction, tractors and agricultural equipment, pumps and diesel engines, pharmaceuticals, tourism, auto components, information technology, fertilisers,hotel management, textiles and biotechnology as possible areas of cooperation growth between the two nations.

India could emerge among the top ten foreign investors in Egypt, he added.

India's exports to Egypt were 1.4 billion dollars as against imports, including oil, worth 1.98 billion dollars in 2007-08.

UNI SAA AK PK BST1808

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