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New Delhi, Jan. 13

THE Indo-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was launched here on Thursday by the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath, and the visiting UK Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Ms Patricia Hewitt.

The launch of JETCO is aimed at strengthening the bilateral relationship between the two countries. The committee was announced in the Joint Declaration signed on September 20, 2004, by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair.

After signing the agreement, Mr Kamal Nath said that it would provide the institutional mechanism to build on the existing relationship and play a vital role in doubling bilateral trade from the current level of $6 billion.

He said that JETCO would help identify areas where trade could be enhanced, besides, pointing out the obstacles for increased bilateral trade and investment.

Ms Hewitt said that JETCO would be a vital new link between British and Indian economies and provide the framework for improving business-to-business links. "The UK attaches importance to this new initiative," she said.

Ms Hewitt was accompanied by a 15-member high-level business delegation from the UK.

JETCO will be co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister of India and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Government of the UK.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 14, 2005)
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