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Indo-Russia new pact in the offing

Financial Express, Bangladesh

Indo-Russia new pact in the offing

29 January 2006

DAVOS (Switzerland), Jan 28 (PTI): India and Russia will be working for new economic agreements that would include higher investment of Russian firms in the country’s lagging infrastructure.

"We are going to look for more economic engagement with Russia. We want trade to be enhanced," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said on the sidelines of World Economic Forum here Friday.

He did not elaborate whether it would be a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) or Bilateral Investment Promotion Agreement (BIPA).

Russia has a huge Rupee debt, which could be invested in India’s infrastructure sector, he said, adding the government was in favour of a lock-in period for such investments.

India is also looking at reviving export of tea, tobacco and leather, said Nath, who along with Finance Minister P Chidambaram is showcasing India as a manufacturing hub and an attractive investment destination at the WEF.

Apart from Russian and Japanese companies, Nath said several large companies showed interest in establishing a manufacturing base.

Nath had talks with Michael Dell who had informed him that DELL would be establishing a manufacturing base in India soon.

Apart from participating in a session on trade at the WEF, Nath attended a meeting of the G -6 meeting hosted by the Trade Minister of Australia.

The ministers at the WEF meeting reviewed the position on Doha round issues ahead of the mini-ministerial of the World Trade Organisation scheduled to take place in Davos Saturday.

The mini-ministerial is expected to be attended by around 30 trade ministers of WTO member countries. "Structured flaws to global trade must be corrected and that is what we will discuss,’’ said Nath ahead of the Saturday meeting.

Nath said the developed nations have to cut subsidies and become more competitive. Bilateral talks between India and European Union would be held in London on month end, he added.