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MoC to intensify trade & investment links with Ethiopia

03
Oct '08
Shri Jairam Ramesh
The fifth meeting of the India-Ethiopia Joint Trade Commission will be held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on 6th & 7th October, 2008.

Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Commerce & Power, 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 Shri Jairam Ramesh's visit. Among them are pacts to (i) expand the supply of raw skins and hides that are abundantly available in Ethiopia for India's growing leather manufacturing industry; (ii) to set up an apparel fashion design institute in Ethiopia with the assistance of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC); and (iii) to set up a 38 Mw hydel project by BHEL/IL&FS.

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. Of this, $ 2 billion is in the agriculture and floriculture sector alone.

A number of Indian private companies are 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 at the 5th meeting of the Joint Trade Commission.

India enjoys a huge trade surplus with Ethiopia (exports in 2007/08 were over $ 400 million and imports around $ 14 million) and hence one of the objectives of Shri Jairam Ramesh's visit will be to explore new avenues for exports from Ethiopia to India.

Apart from raw skins and hides, pulses has been identified as one area. In addition, Ethiopia has large deposits of potash which could be exploited by Indian firms since India imports 100% 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 Dr. Manmohan Singh at the India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008.

Press Information Bureau Government of India


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