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President invites Belarus investors, aims to take trade to USD 1billion

PTI 04 Jun 2015, 17:10:34 IST

Minsk: Describing India as one of the fastest growing emerging markets, President Pranab Mukherjee today invited Belarusian investors to the country in a bid to increase bilateral trade to USD one billion by 2020.

Speaking at a joint business council meeting here, Mukherjee said consolidation measures have improved India's fiscal position, price levels have come down, manufacturing sector is in a nascent stage of revival and agricultural growth has remained robust.

"As you are aware, India is emerging as one of the largest economies in the world and one of the fastest growing emerging markets with an average annual growth rate of more than seven per cent over the past decade. There are positive signals that suggest that we may be moving to an even higher growth path," he said.

In his last engagement of his five-day trip to Sweden and Belarus, Mukherjee said the turnover of trade between India and Belarus is modest and way below its real potential.

Bilateral trade between India and Belarus was about 400 million in 2014.

"I am, however, optimistic -- my interactions with President (A G) Lukashenko make me hopeful that we can increase our trade to a level of USD one billion by the year 2020," he said.

The President said he was confident that this level is achievable if the range of items in the trade basket are expanded, the share of high-technology and value-added products increased and exchanges and cooperation in the services sector enhanced.

Mukherjee said to facilitate trade, both governments are keen to intensify cooperation in quality control, quarantine, certification of goods and standardisation as well as simplification of customs formalities.

"We will work together, bilaterally and in the context of the proposed partnership between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, to address any existing trade barriers and to avoid introduction of new barriers to trade," he said.

The President announced that India has decided to grant 'Market Economy Status' to Belarus.

Mukherjee said giving market economy status will be a significant step towards enhancing bilateral trade and also in promoting greater integration of Belarus in international trade structures.

"However, even as governments implement facilitating measures, greater trade can be realised only if businesses on both sides participate wholeheartedly in this process," he said.

"I am also happy to inform you that India would be extending a new line of credit of USD 100 million to Belarus to encourage joint projects in mutually identified sectors," Mukherjee said.