Belarus Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich Wednesday sought more Indian investments in his country, asking business leaders to increase cooperation to boost economic ties.
"We invite Indian businessmen to invest in Belarus. We are inviting joint collaborations in sectors like pharmaceuticals. We can help Indian companies in heavy engineering goods," Myasnikovich told a gathering of Indian industry lobbies FICCI, CII and Assocham.
Myasnikovich was earlier Wednesday present at the inauguration here of the 32nd India International Trade Fair where Belarus is the 'partner country' with the largest overseas participation. Its 57 major firms from different sectors like infrastructure, automobiles, chemicals and food and beverages are participating in the event.
The Belarus prime minister, who is accompanied by a business delegation, asked business leaders to raise the level of cooperation, particulary in heavy engineering goods and fertiliser sectors, and added there was good scope to boost engagement also in pharmaceuticals, IT and biotechnology.
"It (bilateral trade) is considerably lower than the existing potential. We can establish joint ventures for production of agriculture equipment and increase cooperation in exploring hydrocarbon energy and modernisation of petrochemical set-ups," Myasnikovich said.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Commerce D. Purandeswari said specific measures are being taken to enhance the low bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Specific measures should be taken to enhance trade between the two countries... number of new bilateral documents are in the process of elaboration,” said Purandeswari.
The India-Belarus bilateral trade between during 2011-12 stood at around $300 million.
The Indian minister said since Belarus is well-known as a major supplier of potash fertiliser, “India is interested in long-term off-take, besides her interest in investing in the potash sector in Belarus.”
Purandeswari said leather and footwear, chemicals, dyes, tea, coffee and consumer durables can be other areas of trade engagements between the countries.
State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited is currently engaged in upgradation of a power plant in Grodno region of Belarus and Purandeswari said the plant is to be commissioned in Dec 2012.
India's exports to Belarus consist mainly of pharmaceuticals, tea, rice, pepper, yarn and organic dyes.
The Fifth Session of the India-Belarus Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) for economic, trade, industrial, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation was held in January this year at Minsk, Belarus.
Both sides at the IGC session had agreed on the need to expand the trade basket and set a trade target of one billion US Dollars by 2015-16.