NATIONAL

Good response to CII trade fair in Kabul

NEW DELHI OCT. 3. Absence of a centralised banking system, poor communications facility and higher transportation and freight costs are some of the problems that have been identified by the CII in doing business with Afghanistan.

Addressing presspersons after "The Made in India Show'' held in Kabul from September 26 to 29, Subodh Bhargava, Chairman, Trade Fair, CII, said that his organisation had been in touch with the VSNL to activate the 0093 ISD code to establish the communication system and planned to take up the issue of transportation with the Ministries of External Affairs and Commerce.

Expressing optimism that the Central Bank of Afghanistan should be in place by early 2003, Mr. Bhargava said the response to the mega event organised by the CII was overwhelming with over 25,000, including 8,000 businessmen visiting the fair.

A highlight of the event was the decision taken by some of the leading companies to invest in Afghanistan. The Kamrup Industrial Gases has tied up with the Yahya Gulf Trading to set up a medical and industrial gases unit in that country with an investment of $ 2.5 millions. Another investment related to the establishment of a mineral water plant in Kabul.

Mr. Bhargava said 50 per cent of 170 Indian companies which participated in the exhibition had already appointed dealers, distributors and agents. Another 10 per cent had decided to open their offices in Kabul while 20 per cent of the other exhibitors were in the process of tying up with potential partners.

To establish links with the business communities of the two countries, the Indo-Afghan Business Forum (IABF) was launched on the opening day of the exhibition in the presence of the Afghan Commerce Minister, Kazami, and India's Foreign Secretary, Kanwal Sibal. The first formal meeting of the IABF would be held in mid November.

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