India and Namibia agreed for early conclusion of a preferential trade agreement between New Delhi and SACU, aimed at reducing tariffs on certain items traded between the two sides.
India and Namibia agreed for early conclusion of a preferential trade agreement between New Delhi and Southern African Customs Union (SACU), aimed at reducing tariffs on certain items traded between the two sides.
The SACU consists of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. The matter was discussed between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and his Namibian counterpart Carl H.G. Schlettwein.
Sharma was on an official visit to Namibia. “The progress of India-SACU Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) negotiations was discussed between the two ministers. Both sides agreed that there was need to come to an early conclusion. This was necessary so that the India-SACU-MERCOSUR trilateral could be concluded,” an official statement said.
Besides, India has offered to provide Buyer’s Credit of $ 100 million to Namibia for taking up infrastructure projects. “This will be in addition to the $ 100 million Lines of Credit which India had offered during the State visit of the President of Namibia to India in 2009,” it said.
Buyer’s Credit is a unique programme of Exim Bank, under which the Bank facilitates Indian exports by way of extending credit facility to the overseas buyers for financing their imports from India.
The PTA is slightly different from the free trade agreement (FTA). In FTA, the two sides reduce or eliminate duties on maximum number of products they trade in, whereas in PTA, the tariffs are not necessarily eliminated, but they are lowered than the countries not party to the agreement.
India is giving more emphasis on new markets including Latin America and Africa for increasing exports.
Further, the statement said that both sides agreed to speed up the process of setting up an ICT Training Institute and an Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Namibia. In his meeting with Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob, Mr. Sharma offered to set up an SME Skill Centre, for which National Small Industries Corporation will be the designated agency.
“Sharma offered to organise a dedicated course for 60 participants at the Centre for WTO Studies in Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. Geingob renewed the offer for supply of Uranium to India,” the statement added.
Several Indian companies have invested in Namibia. Vedanta Resources had undertaken value addition by setting up a Zinc refinery and also providing skills training to young Namibians. The bilateral trade between the countries grew to $ 233.62 million in 2013 from $ 65.03 million in 2012.
India’s top items of exports to Namibia are pharmaceuticals, chemicals, transport equipment, electronic goods, processed items, metals, rice, marine products, plastic and meat. The main imports include ores, metal scrap, precious and semi-precious stones, crude oil, petroleum products, leather and medicinal items.