INDO-SLOVAK TRADE POISED FOR EXPANSION -- NEW AREAS OF COOPERATION IDENTIFIED
Date : 29 Nov 2001
Location : New Delhi
India and Slovakia have agreed to further expand and diversify bilateral trade on a mutually beneficial and balanced basis. To this end, both sides have agreed to make concrete efforts for stepping up trade through joint ventures, production cooperation and technology transfer. This is indicated in the Protocol of the 4th Session of the Indo-Slovak Joint Committee on Economic and Commercial Cooperation, which was signed here today by Shri Nripendra Misra, Special Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry as well as co-chairman of the Joint Committee from the Indian side and by Mr. Peter Brno, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy of Slovakia and co-chairman of the Joint Committee from the Slovak's side on behalf of their respective governments. The volume of trade between India and the Slovak Republic (formerly part of Czechoslovakia) is presently far below its potential and stood at around US $ 16 million in 2001. Earlier, during the inaugural session of the Joint Committee, both Shri Misra and Mr. Brno highlighted ways and means of augmenting trade and economic relations through various means including third country exports. Shri Misra emphasised that augmentation of the basket of commodities for trade should become the primary focus. Mr. Brno also indicated the possibility of Slovakia joining the European Union (EU) by the year 2004. Mr. Brno along with his delegation also called on Dr Raman Singh, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry and discussed possibilities of greater industrial cooperation between India and Slovakia.
While exchanging information on items of export interest to both sides, the Committee took note of India's request for activating efforts to increase Indian exports in non-traditional or niche product groups such as engineering; software & information technology; electronics; plastics; packaging; chemicals & pharmaceuticals; medical equipment; food processing etc. The Indian side also requested for streamlining of registration procedures for Indian drugs & pharmaceutical products in the Slovak Republic. In response to India's suggestion to Slovakia to source its requirements of fabrics and yarn from India, it was agreed that buyer-seller meets and Expos would be organised in Slovakia with participation from both sides. The scope for cooperation in industry (especially engineering and metallurgical); textiles; chemicals, petrochemicals & pharmaceuticals; tourism; agriculture; energy; electronics & software/information technology; telecommunications etc. was noted and specific areas of cooperation in these sectors have been identified.
Both sides have agreed to hold another round of negotiations for early finalisation and signing of a Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement. Further, both sides have agreed to sign the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation between India and the Slovak Republic at the earliest.
During the inaugural session, Shri Nripendra Misra noted that the new banking protocols for division of the rupee balances between the Slovak and Czech Republic had been signed and said that this would settle the long outstanding problem of liquidation of the Non-Convertible Rupee Balances. He also stressed the need to strengthen institutional linkages between the trade and industry organisations of the two countries which would bring benefits to both sides and in this context, welcomed the plans of the Slovak trade to open an office in India.