Tuesday, March 27, 2012

India asks for long term agreement on rough diamonds from Russia
Anand Sharma pushes for JV between India and Russian Pharma Companies

Meeting of the Trade Ministers of India and Russia, here today marked the beginning of key meetings relating to the upcoming BRICS Summit. The Union Minister of Commerce Industry and Textiles received the Minister of Economic Development of Russian Federation Ms E Nabiullina and reviewed the trade ties. “Our meeting is important as we are meeting before the BRICS trade Minister meeting and the Summit but also before the forthcoming G-20 meeting. The meeting assumes further importance as Russia is attending BRICS for the first time after accession to WTO,” said Shri Sharma.

Both sides agreed to work for substantial increase in the trade volume. It was also noted that Indo-Russian bilateral trade is far below existing trade potential and there is need for cooperation to increase bilateral trade. There is concern over unfavourable trade balance. Indian exports to Russia need both greater access and a stronger push for enhancement, keeping in view the huge adverse trade balance.

Shri Sharma also pushed for JV between Indian Pharma companies and the Russian companies. Russian side is to provide list of 500 drugs (mostly generic and strategic) of which 75% is imported by Russia and also information on volume of production is required in respect of certain number of strategically identified medicines. India hopes to tap huge Russian market and neighboring countries where Russia has favourable terms of business. The issue found positive resonance in the Russian delegation. Ms Nabiullina said “It is possible to take the trade, excluding defence, 1.5 times higher in coming years and JVs are good idea. Pharma sector is a good example where we can cooperate.”

The Indian Minister also asked Ms Nabiullina to push for an early conclusion of Long Term Supply Agreement / Contract (LTSA) between ALROSA Co. Ltd. (ALROSA) and thereby providing an enabling mechanism for participation of companies like MMTC and HDCPL in sale of diamond. Similarly Shri Sharma requested that a mechanism for sale of diamonds by Gokhran, Russian Govt. depository of precious metals may be institutionalized. The Russian Minister assured to look into the matter.

The Indian side also raised the issue of high duty on Indian tea and dilution of India GI on Asaam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri Teas.

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