I2U2 “Really Smart Idea” Israeli minister says, calls for expansion of India-Israel FTA Replying to media queries on the event's sidelines, Israeli Minister Barkat described the idea of I2U2 grouping of India, Israel, UAE and the US as "really smart". He said, “FTA should be as wide as possible to enable more and more trade as free trade brings the people together.”4 min read
New Delhi: The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Israel and India will be discussed on Tuesday, Israel’s Minister of Economy Nir Barkat said adding that the Indian economy is rising to be the third in the world.
The proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between Israel and India should be as wide as possible to enable more and more trade as it brings people together, Israel’s Minister of Economy and Industry M K Nir Barkat said on Tuesday.
The minister said he will hold discussions with the Indian side regarding an FTA between the two countries, negotiations for which have been going on for over a decade.
“As a government to government I am going to be proposing to your ministers to naturally expand the free trade agreement, focus on business development in a smart way, share knowledge and experience as much as possible,” Barkat said at a CII event during his visit here.
He said both sides will have to focus on complementary areas for the proposed free trade deal where India and Israel hold a competitive advantage.
“It (FTA) should be as wide as possible to enable more and more trade as free trade brings the people together,” Barkat said.
Replying to a query over FTA between India and Israel, Barkat said, “I’m going to be discussing it with the ministers today.”
The first round of negotiations and talks on FTA was held in May 2010 but the deal came out as elusive.
While elaborating about the FTA expansion, he further added that Isreal has a lot to offer in sectors like agrotech, healthtech and foodtech and it translates into a lot of trade from both directions. “So from my perspective, we are coming as open as possible,” the minister said.
The minister also wished that India and Israel double trade every two years. Replying to media queries on the event’s sidelines, Barkat described the idea of I2U2 grouping of India, Israel, UAE and the US as “really smart”.
“I2U2 is a good idea..", says Israel's economy minister @NirBarkat in a reply to my question. #WATCH more. Full talk with him and #business experts coming 🔜 #israel #india #i2u2 @IsraelinIndia @IsraelMFA @IsraeliPM @Israel @MASHAVisrael @TimesofIsrael pic.twitter.com/nIWIQyLdjS
— Dr. Shahid Siddiqui (@shahidsiddiqui) April 18, 2023
I think that the more time will flow you will see that the relationship and the bonding has a lot to offer because the UAE and Israel are small but well positioned. The American and the Indian economies are large and very complementary,” he said.
On alternate plans in the context of Chinese supply chain constraints and Russian sanctions, he said, geopolitical challenges in the world enable more creativity and more development. The minister said he sees a huge mutual opportunity in India, adding, “We are here to exploit it”.
“I want to welcome more investors to invest in Israel. It is in the best interest of both sides, countries and people. We believe it is a good investment, and we want to make sure the return on the investment is such that more investors from India will come to invest in Israel,” the Israeli minister said while speaking to WNN.
Speaking on India-Israel relations at Israel-India Business Forum, Barkat said, Israelis feel safe and secure living and doing business in India. “Israelis love Indians and Indians love Israelis. We always felt safe and secure living and doing business in India,” he said.
Israel's Minister of #Economy MK Nir Barkat, currently on a visit to India, expressed the potential for collaboration between India and #Israel, stating that India is seen as a "one stop solution" and such our collaboration can "boost and scale our growth". @IsraelinIndia pic.twitter.com/FT31i2j0EG
— Dr. Shahid Siddiqui (@shahidsiddiqui) April 18, 2023
The Israel-India Business Forum was also graced by Israel’s ambassador to India Naor Gilon along with 25 Israeli business delegates. In his address at CII’s Business Forum event, Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon said the strategic relations between India and Israel are not only in name but in deed as well.
Israel Export Institute’s chairperson also echoed the similar opinion about India-Israel business possibilities. While talking to WNN, Aylet Verbin, chairperson of Israel Export Institute said, “Israeli and Indian business fraternity are eager to grow and scale up the business and collaborate with the world is another great opportunity. What we need to do now is figure out the best way for our entrepreneurs who work with your entrepreneurs, for our small economy, to leverage your scale in huge economy, the size and scope of it and it’s a great match.”
Aylet was talking with WNN in their special talk show “INs & OUTs with Sid”. During the talkshow, she said, “We’re doing more agriculture by just using technology in a smart way. In India, once you scale quickly and adopt technology, that number will shrink dramatically in very short time and give better yield.”
India is the world’s seventh-largest economy and is Israel’s second-largest trading partner in Asia, after China. Bilateral trade is around USD 8.5 billion. Israeli exports to India make up around USD 5.2 billion.
As per CII’s data, the bilateral trade between the two nations has increased 40 times since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1992.
-Dr. M Shahid Siddiqui (PhD), Follow via Twitter @shahidsiddiqui
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