Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles, announced that India is committed to strengthen its bonds with Iraq, reports Net Indian. Sharma recently met the visiting Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Rowsch N Shaways at in New Delhi.
Sharma stated during the meeting: "The Joint Business Council between India-Iraq needs to be activated, so that the interaction between businessmen of both the countries could be maintained regularly. The apex Chambers of Commerce should interact on regular basis for arranging Joint Business Meetings to boost the bilateral trade."
Shaways stated that India is the biggest importer of Iraqi oil, which provided the two countries with a firm foundation to further build economic engagement. He also mentioned the significance of diversifying the trade basket between India and Iraq, and suggested food, construction, minerals, IT, pharmaceuticals, energy and automobile as possible sectors to look into.
Shaways extended an invitation to Indian firms to work in Iraq, either in a joint venture or independently. "We are open in all formats and will welcome Indian participation in our reconstruction programme," he stated.
“We will be happy to see Indian companies being encouraged in Iraq’s reconstruction programme, and we will also point our companies in that direction," Sharma said.
The two countries agreed to revamp the presence of India in the Baghdad International Trade Fair. Trade Minister of Iraq, Kheer Allah Hassan Babkr, who also attended the meeting, stated that India-Iraq relations should get to a stage that there is no need for third parties in trade between the two countries. He stated that Indian companies should be able to deal directly with the businesses in Iraq.
Bilateral trade between India and Iraq has risen by 100 percent over the last five years.