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India, Nigeria to conclude trade talks by June

The Hindu, India

India, Nigeria to conclude trade talks by June

By Arun S.

Recently in Lagos (Nigeria)

20 January 2010

India and its largest African trading partner Nigeria will conclude by June the talks to sign agreements on trade, investment and double taxation avoidance that will lead to a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

This is to double the bilateral trade to over $20 billion in the next five years. India is also looking to make fresh investments of $10 billion, including in the oil sector, in Nigeria by 2015.

“There is enormous potential. Eventually, bilateral trade will touch $50 billion,” the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, told reporters here on the sidelines of the FICCI-organised Namaskar Africa event.

He said both the countries have discussed three agreements — trade agreement, bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement and double taxation avoidance agreement. “What I have suggested is that these agreements should be concluded soon and will then become the building blocks for two things — to start negotiations on CEPA and greater cross investments,” Mr Sharma said.

These are meant to encourage increased Nigerian investments in India and Indian investments in Nigeria as well as joint ventures and collaborations between companies in both the countries, the Minister said.

“We did speak about manufacturing, training in skills to make people employed. But these can only happen when there is an expansion of industries,” he said. “Fresh investments of $10 billion from India to Nigeria are possible. Oil sector itself will take in huge investments,” he said.

On the trade agreement, the Minister said it will only be a simple agreement on trading, but it will not be on the lines of a Free Trade Agreement

Mr Sharma, who held talks with his Nigerian counterpart Mr Achike Udenwa, said both the countries also discussed issues relating to the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round negotiations as they are working together on them.