India, Egypt to strengthen economic relations
Cairo: India and Egypt have agreed to work towards early resolution of some of the issues being faced by major Indian companies that are operating projects in different parts of the African country.
The India-Egypt Joint Trade Committee held its first meeting in Cairo on March 10 where both sides welcomed the significant increase in Indian investments in Egypt. The Indian delegation was headed by D S Dhesi, Additional Secretary in Ministry of Commerce & Industry while Said Abd-Allah, First Under Secretary in the Ministry of Industry & Foreign Trade headed the talks from the Egyptian side.
The meeting, coming on the eve of the forthcoming visit of President Mohamed Morsy to India, gave the two sides an opportunity to review the existing position with regard to bilateral trade, examine issues that need to be resolved and explore the future potential in new areas of cooperation.
Both sides expressed satisfaction that bilateral trade between India and Egypt has shown impressive growth despite the on-going global economic slowdown.
According to data released by Egypt's official Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), trade has grown from USD 2.5 billion in 2006-07 to USD 4.3 billion in 2011-12.
The trade balance currently lies in Egypt's favour with its exports to India touching USD 2.3 billion as against imports of a little under USD 2 billion.
This trade profile makes India the 7th largest trading partner of Egypt and the second most important destination for its exports.
Dhesi said: "The convening of the first ever meeting of the Joint Trade Committee marks an important step in our efforts to ensure that our trade and investment relations achieve their full potential.
"We have always worked closely on multilateral platforms such as the WTO and our collaboration reflects the true spirit of South-South Cooperation."
He added that there were extremely meaningful and productive discussions with Egyptian officials.
"...We hope that in the coming years, these will pave the way for the emergence of India as the preferred source of high quality and competitively priced products in vital sectors such as pharmaceuticals and vaccines, agricultural commodities like wheat for which India now has a substantial surplus and state-of-the-art products and services in information and communications technology sector," he said.