Russia, India negotiating new investment protection agreement
Russia and India are holding negotiations on a new agreement concerning the promotion and mutual protection of investments, Russian Trade Representative in India Yaroslav Tarasyuk told RIA Novosti.
“The agreement on the protection of capital investments will expire in April. Talks are currently underway and the negotiation process has commenced”, he said following a speech at a presentation of the Gazprombank group of companies in New Delhi.
The negotiations are being conducted by the Ministry of Finance on the Indian side and by the Ministry of Economic Development on the Russian side, he said. Tarasyuk said it was difficult to predict the possible dates for the signing of the new agreement, which is essential to meeting the goal set by Russian and Indian leadership of increasing trade turnover to USD 30 billion by 2025.
Tarasyuk noted that positive trends are already being seen right now: even though trade turnover has hovered around USD 8 billion in recent years, in January 2017 turnover increased by more than 20% compared with January 2016. Indian exports have increased by 40% and Russian exports by roughly 25%, he said.
“January has usually been a disastrous month for us in terms of trade, but now we have growth”, he said.
During his speech at the presentation, Tarasyuk noted that, even despite the positive trends, increasing trade turnover remains a tough task and the governments of both countries understand and are working on this. In particular, negotiations will officially commence this year on a free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, the countries are preparing to launch a ‘green corridor’ regime in trade, and talks are under way on the establishment of joint funds to invest in projects in both countries.
Challenges remain on the path to achieving the goal of USD 30-billion trade turnover, Tarasyuk noted. Such challenges include logistics, a lack of financial tools to encourage trade, a lack of understanding among business about bilateral trade opportunities, and insufficient support for small- and medium-sized businesses. These issues are also gradually being resolved through the development of the North-South transport corridor for which Moscow, Baku, and Tehran recently agreed to reduce the tariff for 40-foot containers by 50% and also introduce national currency-based settlements.
The issue of support for small- and medium-sized business contacts will be resolved with the opening of a Russian Trade House in India, Tarasyuk said.