labels: economy - general, trade
PM in South Africa to boost trade tiesnews
30 September 2006

Prime minister Manmohan Singh arrived in South Africa today to expand trade links and commemorate 100 years of the non-violence movement launched by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa.

The PM''s on a four-day state visit commenced with the port city of Durban, the hub of South Africa''s Indian community.

Besides retracing Gandhi''s footsteps with a train ride to Pietermaritzburg where he was thrown-off the train in 1906 and paying tribute to his work in South Africa, the PM will hold talks with government officials to boost investments in areas including telecommunications and textiles.

At least seven pacts, including those in the fields of railways, education and science and technology, are likely to be signed during the visit.

A proposed preferential trade agreement (PTA) with the five-nation South African Customs Union (SACU), which is currently under negotiation.

The PM''s entourage included Indian business leaders and government officials. India-South Africa trade was $4 billion in 2005-06, and the two countries have set a target of 12 billion by 2010.

Dr Singh and the South African government are also expected to explore opportunities for civilian nuclear energy cooperation to source uranium for Indian atomic power plants. India is looking to Australia, South Africa and other nations to help meet its demand for uranium.

South Africa, with its estimated 10 per cent of global uranium reserves could be an important source of supply for India, which has barely half a per cent of low-grade uranium reserve.

The PM will hold talks with president Thabo Mbeki, whom he had just over a fortnight back along with Brazil''s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brasilia as part of a three-nation forum formed to boost cooperation between developing nations.

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PM in South Africa to boost trade ties