Friday, February 27, 2009

India may sign trade pact with 5 African nations by 2009

India and the five-nation South African Customs Union (SACU), a regional sub-group of African countries, are likely to sign a preferential trade agreement by the year end, an official of South Africa High Commission said on Wednesday.

"By the end of 2009, we should be close to signing of the PTA between India and its southern African customs union partners," Counsellor in the High Commission Jardine Omar said.

A framework agreement has already been signed between the two parties, he told reporters at an CII meet.

"PTA is the first step. Once it is signed, the progression is to move towards FTA which emcompasses services and investment," he said.

Under the PTA, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (SACU nations) and India would be lowering tariffs on certain products.

Meanwhile, South African High Commissioner to India Sehloho Francis Moloi said South African company Sasol would be showcasing technology to convert coal into gas and liquid forms at the four-day International Engineering and Technology Fair scheduled in Bengaluru from February 23.