India and South Africa on Friday mutually agreed to widen the export basket and to work closely for the early conclusion of the India-South African Customs Union (SACU) Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA).

This was decided between the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma and the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Priority destinations

During his interaction with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane here, Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma said India had identified South Africa and other African nations as the priority destinations under the diversified market scheme and Indian exporters were being encouraged to tap these potential markets.

Besides speeding up the SACU-India PTA and early conclusion of the BIPA, both Ministers agreed that the CEO Forum should be reconstituted at the earliest.

Both expressed satisfaction at the level of bilateral trade which had touched $7.41 billion in 2008-09.

India’s imports from South Africa stood at $5.44 billion during this period and India’s exports to South Africa were $1.97 billion.

Both ministers discussed the two-way investments, and noted that Indian investments were about $3 billion with many projects still under implementation.

There is interest in South African companies to invest in India also and the present inflows are about $100 million. The visiting Minister informed Mr. Sharma that the South African President had accepted the invitation to visit India, which is likely to happen early next year.

Both the ministers expressed happiness at the warm and close multifaceted relations between the two countries.

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