Opening Remarks By Honourable Charles J. P. Mwijage, (MP.), The Minister For Industry, Trade And Investment During The Opening Session Of Tanzania – India Joint Trade Committee (JTC) Meeting Held At Taj Palace Hotel, New Delhi, India On The 29th August, 2017.
Honourable Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Government of the Republic of India;
Mr. Manoj Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India;
Eng.Joseph Malongo, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in Tanzania;
Mr. Bakar H. Bakar, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Marketing, Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar
H.E. Baraka H. Luvanda, High Commissioner of Tanzania to India;
Representatives of Ministries and Government Agencies from India and from Tanzania;
Business Community from Tanzania and India;
Friends from the Media;
Ladies and gentlemen,
I bring to you Honourable Minister and to your dedicated team very warm greetings from His Excellency Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania. His Excellency the President has wished us a very successful meeting.
Let me also, at the outset, express my very sincere thanks to you and to the Government of India for the hospitality that has been extended to me and to my delegation since we arrived in this incredible country, India.
We are deeply grateful to the Government of India for agreeing to host this 4th India – Tanzania Joint Trade Committee (JTC). Indeed, we have enjoyed our stay here since our arrival and we very much feel at home.
Your Excellency, Distinguished Delegates,
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1961, Tanzania and India have maintained sound diplomatic relations. Economically, we have been traditional trading partners because we have same historical background. Our merchants have traded since early nineteenth century. And, the vast stretch of Indian Ocean has kept our societies and our people connected.
Our strong bilateral cooperation is manifested in several spheres. Our two countries signed in 1975 a Permanent Joint Commission of Cooperation to enhance closer cooperation. Furthermore, in the year 2000 we concluded and signed a Trade Agreement in Dar es Salaam which established this Joint Trade Committee in order to facilitate the effective implementation of the Trade Agreement as well as foster the commercial exchanges.
Tanzania appreciates the fact that the Joint Trade Committee has met several times and has identified various areas of cooperation in agro-processing, leather processing, gemstone cutting and polishing, health and pharmaceuticals, information technology, iron and steel, gas, and power production. We are equally grateful to India for being a great champion of South –South cooperation which launched the India –Africa Forum in March 2008. We appreciate as the result of the forum, India decided to grant duty free-quota free market access to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Tanzania is one of the beneficiaries. We thank you very much.
We are also thankful to the Government of the Republic of India as it continues to provide support to Tanzania through various grants, lines of credit, loans as well as concessional loans.
In a very special way, let me convey my sincere gratitude to the Government of India for contribution amounting to Tshs. 545 million offered during the Kagera earthquake which occurred in 2016, which made the relief and rehabilitation interventions in that region possible. Being a Member of Parliament from the region, I wish to convey our sincere appreciations to the Government and People of this Great Country.
Honourable Minister, Dear Colleagues,
This 4th JTC is happening only one year after the historic visit of the Honourable Prime Minister Modi to Tanzania in July 2016. During that visit, our leader discussed and agreed on a wide range of issues aimed at boosting strong ties of two countries.
It is incumbent upon us, therefore, that we align our discussion and deliberations towards achieving what the two great leaders resolved to spearhead going forward. I can assure you that I have a delegation that is dedicated towards achieving that goal and I count on your total cooperation.
It is on record that for Tanzania, India tops among our greatest trade partners. Our two way annual trade stands at around US$ 3 billion; Indian investments in Tanzania already total around US$ 3 billion; and Indian businesses in Tanzania continue to grow and expand at an impressive pace .But it be recalled that during the their exchanges last year, our two leaders confirmed, once again, that there is a common desire for more economic prosperity and that the two are striving at creating new opportunities for further expanding economic, cultural and scientific cooperation.
Our new focus is premised to, among other things, to:
• Deepen our partnership in agriculture and food security, including through enhanced export of pulses from Tanzania to India;
• Work together in development and use of natural gas;
• Partner in building of industrial economy, capacities and institutions in Tanzania; and
• Deepen our trade and investment partnership by encouraging greater industry to industry ties.
We are therefore; very optimistic that, through the implementation of our Trade Agreement of 2000, which forms the basis of this meeting we have the opportunity to explore massive areas of cooperation. In addition, this is the reason we decided together with this JTC, we also conduct the Business and Investment Forum as well as industrial visit so that we cement and facilitate trade and investment linkages.
Excellencies, Dear Friends,
As your partner, Tanzania appreciates the fact since the last JTC meeting that was held in 2013 in Dare s Salaam, there has been quite significant and remarkable progress in the implementation of our bilateral trade cooperation agreement in a number of areas which I will not attempt to enumerate within this short time allotted to me. It suffices to appreciate the Government of India for being a reliable partner in these efforts.
However, in spite of these achievements, we all know that we are far from attaining the goals set for ourselves and that there is a big room for further improving our economic ties. For instance, we know for a fact that a room exists for improving imports of goods and services from India to Tanzania because we can see the quality of products that you produce and which offer the best value for money.
On the part of Tanzania too, there is a wide room for more exports to India, given the range of goods and services that we can offer. It is well on record that Tanzania can produce a wide range of goods, from cotton, coffee, tea, cloves, cashew nut, rice, pulses and many others. It behoves us that we consolidate our trading patterns for a win-win partnership instead of looking for a third party importer or export of such commodities. I am quite sure that this can be done if each one of us plays his/her part.
Let me conclude by reiterating that we are determined to ensuring that this JTC enhances the understanding reached by our two countries as well as coming up with other new cooperation areas. I remain optimistic that with this determination, we will have a very productive and successful meeting.
I thank you, and everybody for your kind attention!