Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma Friday said that there is immense scope for cooperation and strategic alliances between the small and medium enterprises (SME) sectors in India and South Africa.

“The situation is a lot similar in South Africa as well. Looking at the existing situation and background of SMEs in both countries, there are immense opportunities of cooperation and strategic alliances in the SME sector, which could be in the form of joint ventures, technology collaborations or marketing tie-ups,” Sharma said while speaking at the Interactive Session of CEOs with the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, in New Delhi.

He also informed talks for the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and South African Customs Union (SACU) are expected to conclude soon.

He further added that the agreement will also pave the way for India and South Africa to engage with other South countries.

On the investment perspective, Sharma said that South Africa is one of the most attractive destinations for Indian investors and many Indian companies in the agro-processing, pharmaceutical, energy, tourism, mining, film industries etc. have established their footprint.

The minister called on the South African investors to take full advantage of the present investment climate in India particularly in the sectors like infrastructure, infotech, banking, services and insurance etc.

Drawing the attention of delegates to inclusive growth and development, he said said, “Our bilateral cooperation should be predicated to be inclusive growth process of our respective economies. This is essential for fulfilling our aspirations of attaining the developed country status”.

Later on the day, during the bilateral meeting with visiting South African trade minister Rob Davies, Sharma emphasized the need for sustained and institutionalized dialogue at the Ministerial level on issues relating to trade & investment, speedy conclusion of various agreements especially India-SACU PTA and Bilateral Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (BIPPA).

On Thursday, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma,  in an interactive session organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi, had also said that the two countries need to strengthen and develop linkages between the SME sectors of the two countries so that they may take advantage of global opportunities.