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India, Brazil, South Africa aim for free trade, sign seven accords

Indo-Asian News Service | Wed, 17 Oct 2007

India, Brazil, South Africa aim for free trade, sign seven accords

Manish Chand

Johannesburg, Oct 17 — India, Brazil and South Africa cemented their trilateral cooperation by signing seven agreements here Wednesday and resolved to push for a free trade area, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling for considerably enhancing trade among the three.

The seven agreements signed during the daylong IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) summit envisage cooperation among the three nations in the areas of public administration and governance, tax administration, arts and culture cooperation, higher education, wind resources, health and medicines and social development.

Earlier in the day, Manmohan Singh called closer trade ties among India, Brazil and South Africa by 2012 with goals of energy security and a common social development strategy to benefit millions in these three countries.

’We have set ourselves a modest target of $15 billion by 2010 for trade among our three countries. My suggestion to our business leaders would be to aim to achieve this by 2009 and then go on to double that by 2012,’ Manmohan Singh told business leaders at the IBSA Business Council.

This is the second IBSA summit. The first was held in Brasilia.

Underlining the need to create the necessary environment for closer intra-IBSA trade and investment, the prime minister asked business leaders to look at innovative approaches to exploit common strengths in science and technology in areas including joint research and development projects in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and ICT.

Manmohan Singh also laid emphasis on pooling together respective strengths of the three countries in specific areas of energy technologies to achieve energy security for their rapidly expanding economies.

’Brazil has comparative strengths in ethanol and bio-fuels; South Africa in coal-to-liquid and gas-to-liquid technologies. India has strengths in wind and solar energy.

’We need to look at how trilateral ventures in these areas can be made viable business models,’ he said.

Enunciating his vision of inclusive growth, the prime minister called for a common social development strategy and asked the business community to shape an effective public-private partnership in this area.

The social development strategy, the prime minister said, should include eight elements - rapid economic growth, inclusive growth, human resource development, building equitable infrastructure and grassroots institutions, promoting environment-friendly strategies, preventing short-term distress mitigation and integration into world economy.

Earlier in his opening remarks at the plenary session of the second IBSA summit, Manmohan Singh unveiled a unifying vision of trans-national economic and social partnership with South Africa and Brazil in the IBSA framework, revolving around a free trade area, promoting inclusive growth, connectivity and energy security. He pushed for a ’time-bound action’ to achieve these goals.

 source: Earth Times