‘Zim, India must deepen trade’

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Zimbabwe and India should take advantage of existing legal frameworks between the two countries to deepen trade relations, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube said on Tuesday.

Addressing delegates that attended a one day Zimbabwe-India investment conference, Ncube said besides the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement signed in 1999 the two countries have also signed the agreement on economic and technical cooperation, the MoU on cooperation in development of small-scale industries.

Other agreements between the two countries include the agreement on the establishment of a joint business council between the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and its Indian counterpart and the protocol on cooperation in the sphere of information.

The conference was held under the theme: “Doing business in Zimbabwe; Investment Opportunities and challenges”.

“However, despite the existence of this legal framework for cooperation, trade statistics for 2010 show that a lot still needs to be done to fully utilise the potential that exists between our two countries,” said Ncube.

“Total trade for that year amounted to just over $81,5 million. Surely the platform and structures already put in place we can surpass this?”

Ncube told the visiting Indian delegation that Zimbabwe had put in place investment and trade facilitation institutions to provide direction to doing business locally.

“I would like to assure you that despite misinformation from various sources in the world, Zimbabwe is a safe tourist destination, investment destination and trade partner as you have begun to witness,” he said.