Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and his ministry's director-general, Sharon Kedmi, made an official visit to India last week
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and his ministry's director-general, Sharon Kedmi, made an official visit to India last week in a bid to boost trade ties and look for new areas of cooperation between the two nations.
The minister was joined by a delegation of businesspeople from 25 Israeli companies in the fields of agriculture, infrastructure, alternative energy, water, internal security, communications and services. The companies include Motorola, ECI, Rafael, Elbit Systems, Magal, Naan Dan Jain and Netafim.
The visit was organized by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry's Foreign Trade Administration, together with the ministry's commercial attachיs in New Delhi and Mumbai.
During the stay, Ben-Eliezer met his counterpart, the Commerce Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, and also the Minister for External Affairs, Mr S.M. Krishna.
During the various official meetings held, Israel said it wanted to push for a free trade agreement with India with an objective of tripling bilateral commerce to US$12 billion over the next four-five years.
I hope it (Free Trade Agreement) will happen very soon. It is one of the aims of my visit here to try and push it as much as possible... It is progressing quite well," Israel Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said at a Ficci function. Bilateral trade stood at four billion dollars in 2008.
The full potential for bilateral trade between India and Israel has yet to be realised, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said, adding that the areas of cooperation include homeland security, which is a major need for India and the new growing technologies in Tel Aviv.
Indian exports to Israel include chemicals, plastics, rubber, textiles, machinery and vehicle parts, while imports consist of minerals and electrical equipment.
Both parties agreed to float dedicated Research and Development (R&D) fund. The new fund, unlike other existing R&D funds, will also finance non-R&D projects and has been primarily formed to promote joint agriculture, water and energy initiatives between both nations, Mr Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Israel Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor, said at the end of the visit. “The fund will allow India to tap Israeli expertise in the fields of agriculture, water and energy. At the same time, Israel will get the chance to develop and apply its technologies in the Indian market,” Mr Ben-Eliezer said.
With a view to enhance the bilateral trade, Israel also plans to set up a new economic office in India and has declared the country as a major destination market.