New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Syria has invited Indian companies to set up joint ventures and forge strategic partnerships, especially in the fields of energy and information technology, as the two countries agreed to step up efforts to raise bilateral trade.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who co-chaired the second session of the India-Syria Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) in the Syrian capital Damascus June 10, said India and Syria had agreed to make ‘concerted efforts’ to increase two-way trade ‘to a level commensurate with the potential of the two countries.’
The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on trade facilitation and an agreement on exempting visa requirements for government officials, according to an official statement issued here.
Sharma said the two countries shared common views on most of the multilateral issues and voiced India’s keenness to cooperate on all matters of mutual interest.
Sharma was accompanied by a business delegation from the Confederation of India Industry (CII). The CII signed a MoU with the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Industry.
Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in various sectors like oil and natural gas, IT, phosphatic fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, processed food products, agricultural machinery and marine transport, the statement said.
Sharma said India is following with interest the Syrian economic reform programme and hoped the two-way trade volume would increase to $1 billion, the syrian news agency SANA reported from Damascus.
Currently, the bilateral trade stands at $420 million.
Syrian Trade Minister Lamia Marai Aasi said Syria, located strategically between Asia and Europe, offered many investment opportunities and a suitable investment climate.
She invited Indian businessmen to set up joint projects in all fileds, including power, oil and gas, automobiles and IT, SANA said.
Sharma also asked businessmen to benefit from economic and trade agreements signed by the two countries and form a Syrian-Indian businessmen council.
Both sides said they would increase business delegation visits and participation in fairs, exhibitions and buyer-seller meets.