India Show in Johannesburg to push trade with Africa

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) A four-day ‘India Show’ in Johannesburg from Aug 29 will kick off a drive to push trade and economic ties with South Africa and use it to make a major foray into the African continent.

India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Tata Group chief Ratan Tata will lead the government-corporate mission whose target is to have $12 billion two-way trade by 2012.

Organised by the commerce and industry ministry, jointly with leading industry chamber Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), an exhibition at the MTN Expo Centre, the country’s largest, is among the highlights of the ‘India Show’.

The organisers have identified pharmaceuticals, healthcare, food procesing, automobiles, components, biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, infrastructure, roads and railways as the focus areas of the four-day show.

The margins of the event will also see a meeting of the high-profile India-South Africa chief executives’ forum, co-chaired by Tata and Patrice Motsepe, non-executive chair of African Rainbow Minerals.

‘This is a serious effort on our part to push trade and economic ties with South Africa. The objective is to remove all trade barriers, non-tariff barriers and address issues impacting businesses of both sides,’ said CII deputy director Navita Vinayak.

‘The aim is $12 billion bilateral by 2012,’ Vinayak, who handles the chamber’s Africa desk, told IANS. The two-way trade stood at $7 billion last year.

Commerce ministry officials said India will also showcase its ‘soft power’ during the event, featuring its culture, cinema, fashion and cuisine. Leading designers Satya Paul and Manish Malhotra will display Indian traditional attires to project Indian culture.

This apart, the Taj group of hotels will present ‘Nouvelle Indian cuisine’ and artists arranged by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) of the external affairs ministry will perform at the show, the officials added.

‘South Africa is the gateway to Africa and this event is an amalgamation of many things with business interface,’ said Vinayak. One component of the event is the third edition of the ‘Doing Business with India’ conference to attract foreign investment.

She said the event will give South African firms a first-hand account on the business opportunities available in India and help them interact with potential partners in the large delegation of corporate heads that will participate at the conference.

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