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India, Argentina for expediting signing of BIT, DTAA to boost investments

Feb 19, 2019

 India and Argentina Monday agreed to expedite signing of the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and the double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) between the countries to promote economic ties. 
 
 Taking note of the increase in two-way investment flows over the past few years and its contribution in strengthening the economic ties between the two countries, both the sides agreed to further promote bilateral investments in sectors of mutual interest. 
 
 They agreed to expedite the signing of the BIT and the DTTA between the two countries, a joint statement issued after summit-level meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Argentine President Mauricio Macri here. 
 
 The two leaders also agreed that there was immense potential to increase two-way services trade in tourism, films, health care and information technology, among others. 
 
 With a view to initiate India-Argentina cooperation in the infrastructure sector, both the sides encouraged companies to explore partnerships including through the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. 
    
Source: Times of india



Swaraj meets her Moroccon counterpart, discusses ways to enhance bilateral cooperation

Feb 19, 2019

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Moroccon counterpart Nasser Bourita on Monday and discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of areas including defence and security, counterterrorism and trade and investment. Swaraj arrived on her maiden visit to Morocco from Bulgaria on Sunday.
 
She is on a four-day three-nation tour to Bulgaria, Morocco and Spain as part of India’s efforts to strengthen ties with these countries and expand avenues of cooperation. Sushma Swaraj met with Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita. Productive discussions on enhancing cooperation in trade and investment, defence and security, counterterrorism, Science and Technology, tourism, culture and consular issues, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
 
Swaraj also handed over to Bourita a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed to the country’s King Mohammed VI. EAM Sushma Swaraj handed over a letter from PM Narendra Modi, addressed to His Majesty the King of Morocco, to Foreign Minister of Morocco Nasser Bourita. This was in response to His Majesty’s letter, Kumar said.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Government launches online course, app to support potential exporters

Feb 19, 2019

Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu has launched Anytime-Anywhere online export awareness course for potential exporters to train, mentor and hand-hold them to tap international trade opportunities, Ministry of Commerce & Industry said in a release.
 
Prabhu announced the course in a meeting of the Board of Trade (BOT) chaired by him recently.
 
The online course is funded under the ‘Niryat Bandhu’ scheme of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) and is launched in partnership with the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, the ministry said.
 
The Niryat Bandhu scheme help entrepreneurs exploring business in exports through training, counselling and information sessions through the network of DGFT offices across India, according to details available on DGFT website.
 
The participants would receive a certificate in Export Import Management under Niryat Bandhu Scheme post course completion.
 
Prabhu also launched DGFT’s mobile app during the occasion to allow exporters share their grievances, apply for different licenses, view their status apart from information pertaining to latest trade notices, circulars, Foreign Trade Policy and trade fairs.
 
Through concerted efforts of improved logistics, trade facilitation, increased digitization to reduce human interface and increase transparency, implementation of GST, capacity building through skilling etc., the government has been able to arrest the downturn (in exports) affecting India, commerce secretary Dr Anup Wadhawan said highlighting the need for the course.
    
Source: Financial Express



Indian MSMEs to boost exports to the Maldives

Feb 19, 2019

The Maldives economy is dependent on imports, and Indian MSMEs have great potential to export items of daily use such as food products, medicines, handicrafts, and garments, or invest in the service sector like banking, finance, and hotels, said members of MSME trade bodies from both countries, at a meeting in New Delhi, reported KNN.
 
 
 
The report mentioned Abdul Latheef, President, SME and Entrepreneurship Federation of Maldives (SEFM), saying, The Maldives offers an attractive market for Indian goods and services as Maldives’ economy is totally dependent on imports. Latheef’s SEFM delegation represented members from sectors such as travel and tourism, construction, IT, logistics, etc.
 
 
 
The meeting was also attended by representatives from the Federation of Indian Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises (FISME). Mohan Suresh, former President, FISME, led this Indian delegation. The discussions on trade between the two countries were held after the return of political stability to the Maldives following elections in September 2018. 
    
Source: Yourstory.com



Saudi Arabia, India to ink five MoUs to boost ties

Feb 19, 2019

Saudi Arabia will look at major areas for investments in India, sign pacts with agencies such as Invest India and participate in the country’s infrastructure fund during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit on Tuesday a day after he pledged investments worth an estimated $20 billion to Pakistan.
 
Five MoUs are expected to be signed during the Crown Prince’s visit to New Delhi in areas such as investments, tourism, housing, information and broadcasting, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
 
The investments that Saudi Arabia will make in India will be very different in scope from what it will do in Pakistan. In India, it would be participating in the country’s growth story while in Pakistan it would be helping in trying to keep a debt-ridden nation’s economy from sinking, a government official told BusinessLine
 
While Salman’s closeness with Pakistan demonstrated during his Islamabad visit may not have made India happy, New Delhi has decided to focus on making the most of the Crown Prince’s visit to India by forging stronger ties with Saudi Arabia, its fourth largest trade partner. Saudi Arabia also accounts for about 20 per cent of India’s oil and gas imports.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



India & Bangladesh working to improve connectivity: Envoy

Feb 19, 2019

Both Dhaka and New Delhi are working to improve connectivity between the two countries to boost trade and tourism, Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner to India, Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur said on Monday.
 
The Governments of Bangladesh and India are working on river routes, rail and air connectivity to boost tourism, he said.
 
... From next month, the Civil Aviation Ministry of the Government of India is going to launch a direct flight between Guwahati and Dhaka. I am sure that this will address connectivity and boost tourism growth manifold between the two countries, Monsur said, addressing a tourism convention here.
 
Currently, I am issuing 150 visas daily. I am sure from next month, the number of visas will increase three times or at least 400 every day, he said.
 
Monsur said Bangladesh will put its best efforts to export and enhance tourism medical, religious, archaeological tourism, between the two countries.
 
The Government of Bangladesh is working on river connectivity presently. Dredging activity is going on in full swing. The Government of India has extended a line of credit to the tune of USD 7 billion and under the line of credit, the Government of Bangladesh is also establishing connectivity between Bangladesh and NE of India via rail links, he said.
 
Lauding the natural beauty of Meghalaya, Monsur said, I endorse the belief that Meghalaya is more beautiful than Scotland. My last posting was in Russia. Before that I was at Dubai and Japan. I have visited many places but I have never come across a beautiful place like Meghalaya. 
 
He said, It is only in Meghalaya that you will find the clouds and rivers together in the same setting, a wonderful combination. In very few places in the world will you see such a place. 
 
The Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner said Meghalaya has become an abode of peace. We see the state is disciplined and there were no conflicts. Thanks to the Home Minister.
    
Source: Business Standard



Sushma Swaraj arrives in Spain on last leg of 3-nation tour

Feb 19, 2019

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who arrived in Madrid on Tuesday interacted with the Indian diaspora here and thanked them for their contribution, in diverse fields, in promoting relations between India and Spain.
 
I feel at home even out of India because of meeting all of you. It is like being in India while staying out of India. My visit would have been incomplete if I haven't met the Indian community Swaraj said after interacting with members of the Indian community here.
 
Among her engagements in Madrid, the external affairs minister is expected to hold a bilateral meeting with her counterpart Josep Borrell Fontelles to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual concern, according to official spokesperson.
 
The Spanish government will also confer upon the minister the prestigious Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit for India's swift response through 'Operation Maitri' in rescuing 71 Spanish nationals from Nepal in April 2015, in the wake of the disastrous earthquake.
 
Indian ambassador to Spain, Sanjay Verma said, India's relations with Spain have gained momentum in the past two years with high-level visits and engagements, trade and investments.
 
India and Spain have enjoyed cordial relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1956.
    
Source: Business Standard



New initiative to ensure a good deal for horticulture ryots

Feb 19, 2019

There is some good news for horticultural farmers across the State. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Development Authority (APEDA), with a view to tracing the life cycle of crops till the produce is exported to other countries, has come up with a solution to ensure a good price to horticultural crops and also they are not rejected after export.
 
APEDA has asked horticultural farmers growing mangoes, grapes, citrus fruits, pomegranate, bitter gourd, long gourd, cluster beans, eggplant, okra, curry leaves, potatoes, drumsticks and other vegetables to get registered at their mandal offices by February 28 as prospective suppliers to APEDA, which will export their produce to other countries.
 
 
 
Speaking to ‘Telangana Today’, K Srikanth, cluster-level Horticultural Officer in Wanaparthy, said “Once a farmer gets registered, the horticultural extension officer of the mandal will visit the farm every fortnight and suggest farmers what they can do to meet the standards set by the US, EU and others.
 
The farmer, once registered, will be monitored throughout the year before his/her produce is accepted and exported the subsequent year. Once APEDA certifies the produce as fit for export, as per buyer and seller agreement, the produce is exported.
 
There is also a way through which a group of farmers can directly approach APEDA and get an import and export code. Through this, farmers would not get horticultural expertise from the department, and they would have to ensure that all the requirements for the export are met.
 
The new initiative can have a positive impact on horticultural farmers in Nagarkurnool and Wanaparthy districts, where good export quality mangoes are grown. There is no organic farming compulsion in exporting produce. However, farmers must maintain a one-year track record of farming and it needs to be in the required format. However, the requirements for track record are yet to be communicated to Horticultural Department offices in many districts.
    
Source: Telangana Today



West Bengal planning to expand eNAM network

Feb 19, 2019

West Bengal is planning to expand the electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) network in the state, a senior official said on Monday.
 
So far, we have eNAMs in 17 regulated markets of the state, and we are planning to expand it to another 13 markets, West Bengal Agriculture Marketing Secretary Rajesh Sinha said at a seminar organised by the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce here.
 
Sinha said that in the last one year, cumulative produce worth Rs 1.2 crore was transacted on the eNAM system in the 17 connected markets.
 
He, however, said there is a tendency among farmers to use eNAM only for price discovery and transact outside the network.
 
The national cumulative value of transactions has touched Rs 61,000 crore so far in all the 585 eNAMs, since it was launched in 2016 across 16 states, eNAM Technical Head Arvind Sharma said.
 
He added that there is no plan to augment the eNAM network for now.
    
Source: Business Standard



You could get to eat ‘clean’ meat in India by next year

Feb 19, 2019

India is all set to get a taste of cell-based or ‘clean’ meat as early as next year, with the Maharashtra government giving the state-funded Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) a go-ahead to establish a cellular agriculture research centre in the state. 
 
ICT has joined hands with The Good Food Institute, a global non-profit organisation engaged in promoting the plant- and cell-based meat sector through research and commercialisation, to establish a lab facility in Mumbai by 2020. 
 
The two entities are expected to sign an MoU to set up a ‘Centre of Excellence in Cellular Agriculture’, which will see the Mumbai laboratory coming up in the first phase, followed by a larger research facility at ICT’s Jalna campus by 2021. This will be the world’s first dedicated centre on cellular agriculture. This centre will pioneer innovation, allowing Indian businesses a chance to create products using our research, said Dr Rekha Singhal, dean, research, consultancy and resource mobilisation, ICT Mumbai.
 
Both organisations will jointly focus on raising funds from philanthropists, charitable foundations and government institutions for the centre. It will include state-of-the-art facilities for cell culturing and endow research fellowships in the various technology areas of cellular agriculture, including cell culture media, cell line isolation, scaffolding, and bioreactor design, said Varun Deshpande, MD, India, The Good Food Institute. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



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