Anand Sharma calls for building a comprehensive economic partnership between India, Egypt

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Cairo, Oct.29 (ANI): Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma on Thursday called upon the business leaders of India and Egypt to work towards building a Comprehensive Economic Partnership between the two nations.

Addressing a meeting of the Business Forum, organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry, Sharma, who is on a visit to Cairo, said: "We see both India and Egypt playing an important role at a time when the global economy has been adversely impacted because of the crisis which began last year. Both India and Egypt have done well in registering impressive growth rates even during the time of the global downturn, and bilateral engagement has registered significant increase as underscored by the presence of major Indian corporate entities in Egypt, with the new investments coming close to two billion dollars in Indian investments in Egypt."

"India is very clear that this round has development as the core agenda and therefore to take it to a successful conclusion and putting in place a rule-based multilateral trade regime which is fair, which is equitable, is important. It is also necessary that the new regime corrects the historical distortions in the global trade and addresses both the aspirations and the concerns of the developing countries, particularly the LDCs and the smaller economies," Sharma added.

Earlier, the Union Minister held a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Nazif in the morning in which both the leaders discussed wide ranging bilateral issues as well as global developments of mutual interest.

Sharma also briefed the Prime Minister Dr Nazif about the recent developments in India that have taken place after the visit of Egypt President Hosny Mubarak to India in last November and after the visit of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Egypt in July 2009 to attend the XV Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

The Egyptian Prime Minister invited India to set up joint ventures with Egyptian companies in an exclusive India investment zone that he is proposing to establish. He also suggested that both countries should explore possibilities of joint ventures in third countries.

The Egyptian PM also mentioned that he was personally committed to taking the economic engagement with India to a higher level.

Sharma also participated in the Informal African WTO Trade Ministerial Brainstorming session on "Consolidating the Development Dimension", which was attended by 22 other Ministers and Director General of WTO. The meeting focused on finding the ways and means of a closer cooperation among the participating countries for adopting a common approach to the major issues coming up for discussions in WTO.

After the WTO Brainstorming Session, Sharma had a bilateral meeting with Rachid and discussed the ways of boosting the economic and commercial relations.

Both the Ministers agreed that the existing close economic relations within the two countries need to be taken to a higher level by going beyond the trade figures alone. At the end of the talks, the two Ministers signed a Joint Action Plan for cooperation between the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Indian Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). MSMEs play an important role in the economies of both the countries by providing employment for millions of people and by working as a vital entrepreneurial training ground for the small entrepreneurs not possessing sufficient financial resources to start a large business house.

A Joint Committee will be constituted soon for implementation of the Action Plan.

A 16-member delegation from Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), which is accompanying Sharma, called on Minister for Investment of Egypt Dr. Mahmoud Safwat Mohyee El-Din and had productive meetings at Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Energy, Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) and Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA).

The other engagement of the CII delegation was a Business Forum followed by a Networking Dinner organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry. The Business forum was also attended by Sharma who called upon the business leaders of the two countries to work for building a comprehensive economic partnership between the two countries.

Sharma is presently on a visit to Cairo at the invitation of the Minister for Trade and Industry of the Arab Republic of Egypt, achid Mohamed Rachid, to participate in an Informal African WTO Trade Ministerial Brainstorming Session on "Consolidating the evelopment Dimension". (ANI)

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