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Indo-Israel FTA likely to be concluded this year

The Hindu, India

Indo-Israel FTA likely to be concluded this year

By Our Bureau

19 March 2012

Hyderabad - An Indo-Israel Free Trade Agreement is expected to be concluded this year, paving the way for further expansion in bilateral trade between the two countries. Mr Muneer Akbaria, Consul-General, Consulate General of Israel, said discussions between the two countries on the FTA were at an advanced level.

“At present bilateral trade between India and Israel is $5 billion. We expect to increase it by 60 per cent in the next two years,” he told media-persons here on Monday.

The new areas identified for engagement included water technology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and life sciences.
Desalination tech

He said Israel, which had developed new desalination technologies, could help India in increasing water supply through desalination. “We have five desalination plants in Israel, supplying drinking water to the extent of 50-60 per cent of our requirement. The target is to cover 100 per cent of our drinking water requirement through desalination by 2020,” Mr Akbaria said.

A new desalination technology developed by Israel involves a cost of 50 cents per cubic metre of desalinated water. Also, the country uses 80 per cent of its sewage water for agriculture after elaborating treatment.

Stating that Andhra Pradesh had been a focus area for Israel, he said Israel and the State Government were working towards concluding an agreement for joint research and development on the industrial front.

Israel is also keen on having joint training programmes for the security personnel of the two countries, which faced almost similar security concerns.