Stating that growth and investment relations between India and South Africa were in the upward trajectory, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday exuded confidence that trade between the two countries would touch the $15 billion mark much before the 2014 deadline.

Interacting with the South African Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, during the meeting of the India-South Africa CEO Forum here, Mr. Sharma said: “We hope to achieve the target of $15 billion set for 2014 in trade much before than the proposed deadline”.

The CEOs Forum, the second meeting, of the two countries led by its two chairpersons Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons, and Patrice Motsepe, Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals, met here. The first meeting of the Forum was held in Johannesburg last year. The CEOs met with the objective to give a boost to the growing bilateral economic relations between the two nations and find ways and means to promote bilateral trade and investment. The meeting also addressed the challenges and constraints hampering the growing economic partnership.

The sectoral groups on financial services, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, infrastructure, energy, manufacturing and mining came out with a set of comprehensive recommendations which focussed on the constraints and issues that confronted businesses on both sides.

The two ministers took cognisance of the commendations that were brought to their attention and assured the CEOs that they would seriously look into their suggestions and recommendations. The ministers also expressed the desire to expedite PTA negotiations. Both the ministers agreed to work towards putting in place a friendly visa regime for business people.

In 2010-11, provisional figures show 37.64 per cent increase in bilateral trade which stood at $10.64 billion. Investments from and into South Africa have also seen substantial rise.

Official figures put the cumulative value of Indian investment in South Africa at $6.7 billion. Principal commodities of exports from India to South Africa include transport equipment, petroleum products, drugs, pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals, machinery and instruments, electronic goods, manufactures of metals, plastic and linoleum products, primary and semi-finished iron and steel gems and jewellery.

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