Leading the biggest delegation of Indian entrepreneurs to Syria, consisting of 84 members, Ganesh Kumar Gupta, President, FIEO said that the two countries should endeavour to take bilateral trade from $175 mn in 2017 to $500 mn in 2020. Indian exports should touch $350 mn, while imports should increase to $150 mn by 2020.

Gupta said that India should review its exports strategy depending on imports profile of Syria. Elaborating further, he said that the import of automobiles in Syria is about $293 mn with India’s exports of less than $1 mn. Similarly, in electrical machinery imports of $303 mn, our exports are $4.18 mn. In mechanical machinery and appliances, we contribute to $9 mn out of total imports of $250 mn. In plastics and articles category where the import is to the tune of $268 mn, Indian exports are $3.2 mn. In iron & steel, we have less than 1 per cent share out of an import size of $145 mn.

The delegation had detailed discussion on payment mechanism and banking arrangements, the two main stumbling block in trade and investment. Trading in local currencies, offsetting of trade balance with investment were some of the options discussed with the Syrian authorities.

The delegation met the Finance Minister, Economy & Foreign Trade Minister, Industry Minister, Transport Minister, Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister, Minister of Agriculture, Public Work & Housing Minister, Minister of Electricity, Minister of Public Work and Housing besides Syrian Investment Authority for wide ranging discussion on potential areas of cooperation in various field. The delegation led by FIEO was supported by CII, FICCI and EEPC India.