Greece and India to boost trade

Greece and India are set to boost trade to US$1 billion (-730 million) annually by 2010, Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam said yesterday, at the start of a four-day visit to Athens. Kalam, who held talks with President Karolos Papoulias, signed two bilateral agreements, one on science and technological cooperation and the other aimed at protecting investments. «I am very glad that two agreements have been signed,» Kalam said. «Greece is indeed very good at infrastructure construction, so Greece and India will be partners» in this field. He said the two sides had agreed it was necessary to increase annual trade to US$1 billion by 2010. The leaders also discussed tourism and ways to increase Greek use of renewable energy. In the first 10 months of 2006, India and Greece traded goods worth US$600 million (-440 million) – up 57 percent from the same period in 2005, according to the Federation of Greek Industries. Annual Indian exports to Greece are worth about 10 times more than Greek exports to India, but Greek investments in India were likely to grow, said Ioannis Patsiavos, a director of the organization. «They (India) have low production costs and highly skilled labor. We are looking at… the food industry, telecommunications, information technology, shipping and energy and also tourism,» Patsiavos said. Greek exports to India include machine parts, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers, while imports include iron and steel and textiles. During his visit, Kalam planned to meet other officials and business leaders, and to visit ancient sites in Athens. (AP)

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