By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 30 March 2014:
Over 100 Indian companies are registered to participate in the 42nd Tripoli International . . .[restrict]Fair taking place between 2-12 April at the Tripoli International Fair ground, Indian ambassador Anil Trigunayat revealed today.
The Indian exhibitors will be occupying halls 58, 67 and 70 and this will be the largest ever delegation to visit Libya.
Besides the exhibiting companies, over 15 executives from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will also be visiting Libya between 5-7 April. The CII is the biggest business confederation in India and this will be the second CII delegation to Libya, following a visit in October 2011. The CII hopes to sign an MoU with the Libyan Business Council on 6 April.
The ambassador explained that the delegation will be focusing on health, education, ITC, training, infrastructure, oil and gas, power generation, and renewables.
In return, the Indian ambassador revealed that the Libyan Export Promotion Centre will be invited to lead a delegation of Libyan business leaders to participate in the Indian International Fair in Delhi in November 2014.
US$ 2 bn was conducted in trade
The ambassador confirmed that already a large number of Libyans visit India every year, as reflected in the trade figures. In 2012 over US$ 2 bn was conducted in trade between the two countries. In 2013 Libyan exports to India fell slightly due to the restricted Libyan oil supplies.
Ambassador Trigunayat said that Indian investments in Libya are more than US$ 4-5 bn, and that these could increase further “if agreeable conditions and attractive investment laws are made available to investors”.
The ambassador also stressed that India wishes to diversify its relationship with Libya to include renewables. Many Indian companies have resumed their projects in Libya post revolution, and they are perhaps one of the few foreign companies currently executing and finishing their projects, he stressed. There are many new Indian companies, as evidenced by the large delegation visiting the Tripoli International Fair, looking for new business opportunities in Libya.
US$1 bn urea project
To underscore India’s determination and seriousness in participating in the Libyan market, the ambassador revealed that India has proposed a new US$1 bn urea project in Libya if the Libyan authorities can guarantee sufficient quantities of gas.
“This we hope would be a landmark project between the two countries”, ambassador Trigunayat enthused. Moreover, he explained that several other Indian companies were discussing the possibilities of establishing cement factories while others are discussing various construction projects.
Ambassador Trigunayat stressed India’s honest desire to help build Libya’s human resource capacity by transferring residual knowhow to Libyans. “We are also ready to provide training and technical support in ITC and we are ready to transfer our knowledge and knowhow to Libya by setting up a centre of excellence in ITC in Libya”.
“We believe in sharing with other developing nations whatever expertise India, the 4th largest economy in the world, has achieved and acquired during the past 65 years of independence”, the ambassador explained.
We want Libya to develop its own human resources and want to offer training here in Libya” and to this end “the Indian government has offered the Libyan government as a gift a vocational training institute and an agricultural laboratory. These are now under discussion with the relevant ministries.
Equally, at the end of April a training programme with the Ministry of economy in management, foreign trade, exporting and the SME sector will commence . The ambassador also revealed that India wishes to activate the Pan -African E Network Project in collaboration with the Libyan Ministry of Information and Communication and Technology which will use satellites to help Libyans in tele-medicine, tele-education and e-governance. This programme is already active in over 30 other African states.
Asked by Libya Herald whether the democratization of Libya has had a tangible effect on Libyan-Indian relations and trade, the Indian ambassador was in no doubt. Despite the weak institutions caused by a post-revolutionary state, he felt that there was still nevertheless more transparency and ability to deal with Libyan officials. He also admitted that because now Libya is a democracy India is willing and can offer more help and cooperation on different levels.
To this end, and with elections slated in Libya for June for a new body to replace the current GNC, ambassador Trigunayat added that “we know that democracy is important and India is the biggest democracy in world. We are ready and continue to help Libya’s election commissions in preparation for the next elections, as we did in the previous elections. We have also offered to train exclusively for Libya 30 diplomats in India”.
Looking forward, the ambassador disclosed that in 2015 India plans to hold an exclusive high tech “brand India” fair showcasing India’s leading industries and companies in engineering, manufacturing, ITC, automobiles etc.
On another note, the ambassador hoped that business visas are processed faster and hoped that an MoU could be signed so that business leaders can be fast tracked in visa processing upon being put forward by a business body such as a chamber of commerce or a business council. The India ambassador pointed out that India issued business visas for Libyans within 3 days currently, and hoped Libya would reciprocate.
Asked about the security situation and its effect on Indian companies, the ambassador said while security was a concern, on the whole most Indian companies did not feel threatened and wanted to come and work in Libya.
In conclusion, Ambassador Trigunayat invited Libyans to visit the Indian pavilions at the forthcoming Tripoli International Fair in the hope of mutual benefit and cooperation adding that “India is a very important friend and partner and we want to be Libya’s real partner in progress”.