Stress On Bilateral Track To Push Trade In CIS Region

New Delhi, September 16: | Updated: Sep 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
Noting that a large number of Indian goods reach the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) through third countries, SS Kapoor, joint secretary in the commerce ministry has exhorted exporters to use the bilateral track to promote trade with the region.

Inaugurating a round table on trade with CIS countries organised by Federation of Indian export organisations (FIEO) in Delhi on Tuesday, Mr Kapoor wanted exporters to improve their interactions with buyers to take advantage of the rising demand for Indian products in the region.

Todays session was attended by ambassadors/ counsellors from seven CIS countries Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyztan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

In the globalisation era, trade had to be developed essentially between private parties, in addition to participation in trade fairs, appropriate infrastructural mechanism, including establishment of warehouses in the CIS countries, he said.

Again, unless exporters adopt a proactive approach, the Focus: CIS programme launched by the government this year could not be sustained, Mr Kapoor said and urged them to look at CIS countries as a market of the future. There is a comparative advantage for both to boost trade, he added.

During discussions, it was noted that trade between India and CIS region had grown marginally from $1,669.51 million in 1996-97 to $1,705.27 million in 2001-02, up by 2.14 per cent. Nearly 85 per cent of this trade had been destined for the Russian Federation.

Mr Kapoor said that under the Focus: CIS programme, projects worth Rs 60 lakh had been sanctioned with more such projects on the anvil. The government had also initiated action in the areas of better transportation facilities, including the North-South corridor developed through Iran to save on cost and to increase trade with the CIS countries.

Earlier, FIEO vice-president Subhash Mittal noted that there was a tremendous trade potential in the CIS region which Indian exporters must take advantage by undertaking frequent visits and establishing joint ventures besides doing commodity exports.

Exporters should also consider CIS countries as a supply base for mineral resources, oil products, fresh fruits, machinery, natural gas, petroleum products and cotton, Mr Mittal said.