Our Bureau

Chennai, Sept. 18

Israel is keen to set up a mutual research and development (R&D) fund with India.

Under this fund, both nations could put in about $25 billion each to fund companies in R&D work, said Mr Tzakhi Selzer, Counsellor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of Israel.

A company in India could find a mutual project in Israel and jointly engage in R&D. "Up to 50 per cent of each companies' project expenditure would be funded by its Government. This is irrespective of success or failure of the project," said Mr Selzer.

To start with TN

He said Israel was keen to set up such funds with some States in India starting with Tamil Nadu. "We will be speaking to the Tamil Nadu State Government soon," he said at a meeting organised by the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Israel is keen on mutual R&D work in agriculture, biotechnology and telecommunications. "R&D products developed between our countries would be cheaper by up to five times as compared to buying them from other nations," he said.

Exhibition in March

The Embassy of Israel is organising an exhibition in India in March next year, showcasing products related to drip irrigation and other water technologies.

Talks are on between India and Israel for a free trade agreement (FTA).

"We are first looking at a preferential trade agreement where duty on specific products could be cut. Later an FTA would help double bilateral trade," he said. Currently, Indo-Israel bilateral trade is at $2.4 billion.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 19, 2006)
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