India, Russia discuss free trade pact

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 15, 2018

Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade, Russian Federation, at a press conference after inaugurating the International Engineering Sourcing Show in Chennai on Thursday   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Commerce Minister opens International Engineering Sourcing Show

India and Russia agreed to increase bilateral trade through a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and implement the International North South Transport Corridor for increasing bilateral trade.

Negotiations are going on for an FTA between India and the Eurasian Economic Union that includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, said Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Commerce and Industry.

The FTA issue was discussed during her talks with Denis Manturov, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, today in Chennai.

The investment treaty between India and Russia is also being looked at afresh, she said at the inaugural function of the sixth edition of International Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin had set a target of achieving bilateral trade of $30 billion by 2025 from $6.3 billion now. To achieve that target, there is lot of work to do. Indian manufacturers need to find new markets in Russia, and Russian manufacturers can look at more joint ventures in manufacturing in India and partnerships to set up businesses both in Russia and India, she said.

The three-day IESS will focus on showcasing ‘smart technology for smart engineering’ to top international companies. This is the first time that it is happening outside Mumbai. Around 400 global exhibitors and nearly 500 foreign delegates are likely to participate in the show being held at the Chennai Trade Centre.

Russia is partner country in the event. Manturov is leading a 120-member delegation, including dignitaries from various regions of the country, to attend the event.

North-South corridor

Later talking to newspersons, Sitharaman said that talks with Manturov also included the International North South Transport Corridor that will reduce time and cost of transportation of goods between both countries.

During the 10-month period ending January 2017, engineering exports touched $50.87 billion, exceeding total shipments of $49 billion in entire financial year 2015-16.

Overall, Indian exports in February 2017 was $24.5 billion up from $20.8 billion in February 2016, she said.

Revised investment pact

Sitharaman said an Indian delegation will visit Moscow in April to discuss the revised investment treaty. Foreign Direct Investment from Russia is estimated at $1.2 billion while Indian investment in Russia is around $4.9 billion.

To a query on Russia’s interest in India’s civil aviation industry, Manturov said his country is ready to sign a deal to export 16 helicopters and manufacture 114 units in India under a joint venture.

Russia will also supply Sukhoi Super Jets to India and even consider manufacturing components for the aircraft in India.

Sitharaman said the Russian Railways will study the possibility to speed up trains between Nagpur and Secunderabad.

She invited Russia to be the ‘Partner Country' for the India International Jewellery Show 2017 to be held in July in Mumbai and Advantage Healthcare India to be held in October in Delhi or Mumbai.

Published on March 16, 2017

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