India, SA agree for early finalisation of India-SACU PTA negotiations

New Delhi, Jan. 14 (ANI): Union Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister

Anand Sharma and Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry of South Africa, reviewed the India- Southern African Custom Union (SACU) Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) negotiations in Johannesburg today.

Both the Ministers agreed for the need for early finalisation of the India and SACU PTA.

Sharma requested Davies to take up the issue of India-SACU PTA negotiations and requested him to use his good offices to expedite SACU's response to India's proposal of average Margin of Preference (MOP) in the PTA so that the two sides can accordingly finalise and exchange their respective responses to the tariff request lists and thereby take the negotiations forward.

Both sides have instructed the officials to meet and thrash out the differences.

Earlier, Sharma had written to Mr. Davies on the same issue.

Both the Ministers also decided to meet before the next BRICS Trade Ministers' Summit and also agreed to coordinate stances on World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues.

Sharma also expressed India's concerns at the temporary suspension placed by the South African authorities on frozen boneless buffalo meat imports from India. It is to be noted that after recently granting market access to deboned and deglaned frozen boneless buffalo meat from India by approving one abattoir cum meat processing unit in Maharashtra in January, 2011, same has been temporarily suspended in the month of May 2011.

Sharma has requested that the matter may be looked into as the Indian meat conforms to the highest international norms and standards.

He also mentioned that India and South Africa should be able to reach the bilateral trade target of USD 15 billion for 2014, set by us January 2011, well before 2014. While the total trade between India and South Africa stood at USD 10.53 billion for 2010, it rose to USD 13.65 billion for 2011. (ANI)

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