US-sponsored India-Afghanistan trade and investment expo held in Mumbai

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KABUL (TCA) — Afghanistan CEO Abdullah Abdullah, John Bass, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Subhash Desai, India’s Minister for Industries and Mining and other officials on September 12 opened the 2nd annual India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show in India’s Mumbai city, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

Abdullah addressed guests at the opening ceremony.

He said that “holding of the exhibition is a big success for Afghanistan and India and this exhibition will develop the trade and economic relations between Afghanistan, India and other countries in the world.”

India’s Minister for Industries and Mining said that Indian investors are eager to invest in neighboring countries, like Afghanistan, to bring prosperity to the region.

The exhibition, sponsored by USAID, is on from 12 to 15 September. The show will also showcase Afghan businesses representing sectors such as education, healthcare, textiles, gems and jewelry, industrial mining, air cargo, transportation, and energy.

The expo is taking place two days after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Kabul and reiterated India’s firm support to Afghanistan in further enhancing development cooperation with the war-torn country.

The first such trade show was organised in New Delhi last year. Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed over $27 million in contracts for raw and processed agricultural products, and a number of Indian buyers and Afghan vendors signed Memorandums of Understanding valued at nearly $214 million at that expo.

This time more than 600 representatives from Afghanistan, India and international businesses are expected to attend the trade show, featuring Afghanistan’s finest products.

More than 50 agriculture exporters from Afghanistan are currently in the city to explore business tie-ups as well as to showcase their agriculture products including fruits, nuts and spices to buyers from Maharashtra and neighbouring states of India.

In July, a two-day trade mission exhibition ‘Made in Afghanistan: Nature’s Best’ was held in New Delhi and business deals worth $78 million were signed, the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

By 2020, bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan is expected to exceed $2 billion.

Sergey Kwan

TCA