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Suresh Prabhu calls for govt-level agreement for diamond imports from Russia.

Date: 06-10-2018
Subject: Suresh Prabhu calls for govt-level agreement for diamond imports from Russia
Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu has pitched for a government-level agreement with Russia to import diamonds in such a way that it does not impact India’s current account deficit.
Russia has been a major supplier of rough diamonds and semi-precious stones to India. These stone are cut and polished here before exports.

Imports of natural or cultured pearls, precious and semi-precious stones from Russia jumped almost 60% in the last fiscal to $3.95 billion. Over 90% of the world’s rough diamonds are polished in India.

Speaking at the India-Russia Business Summit, organised by industry body CII on Friday, Prabhu said: “If we can work out a government-to-government agreement in which we import… in a manner that does not adversely impact balance of payment and we will meet our demand. (In this way) Russian exports will increase to India and we import it, process it and re-export that, and both get benefitted.”

Prabhu said a single-window system to facilitate Russian investment has been worked out under the chairmanship of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek to handhold companies. He also said India will create a space in the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor for Russian firms.

The effort to strike an official deal with Russia comes at a time when trade imbalance has worsened India’s current account deficit and exerted pressured on the rupee that on Friday breached 74 against the dollar.
India imported Russian goods worth $8.6 billion in the last fiscal, while its exports to that country stood at only $2.1 billion, leading to a trade deficit of $6.5 billion.

Separately, Prabhu said the government is in talks with various global funds to attract investments, especially in the infrastructure sector. “I have talked to funds in Australia and Canada and government is trying to work with them. Uniqueness of this is that the pension funds of both Canada and Australia are more than the their national GDP,” Prabhu said at an event organised
by Crisil.

The minister has also invited the chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, to India on October 15.

Source: financialexpress.com

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