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Indo-Israel FTA likely by this year-end

Business Standard, India

Indo-Israel FTA likely by this year-end

BS Reporter / Chennai/ Hyderabad

31 July 2012

The India and Israel Free Trade Agreement (Indo-Israel FTA) is likely to be signed by the end of this year or in the second quarter of next year, according to Yahel Vilan, minister and deputy chief of mission, Israel Embassy.

The two countries will hold the sixth round of negotiations on the signing of the FTA in the next two weeks. “Once this is signed, the trade between the two countries may achieve the $10-15-billion mark per year, from the earlier $5 billion,” he said here on Monday.

“Currently, there are no major obstacles. However, some minor things need to be sorted out by the representatives from the two countries,” he added.

Israel is keen on making investments in Andhra Pradesh, mainly in agriculture and agri-related sectors, according to Vilan.

“We are looking at investing in agriculture, agro-based industries including dairy sector and food processing industries, besides sharing our technological know-how,” he said.

“Andhra Pradesh, being the fourth largest state in the country, is largely an agro-economy and also the state is the hub of the seed industry,” said Kanna Lakshminarayana, state minister for agriculture and agriculture technology mission.

Israel is already investing across eight states in India - Maharashtra, Bihar, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. It has plans to add Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal by next year, Vilan told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting on ‘India Israel 20 years and further’.

The event was jointly organised by the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Fapcci) and the Indo-Israel Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI).