CEO Abdullah Abdullah, John Bass, US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Subhash Desai, India’s Minister for Industries and Mining and other officials on Wednesday officially opened the 2nd annual India-Afghanistan International Trade and Investment Show in India’s Mumbai city.
Abdullah arrived in Mumbai early Wednesday and 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.”
Bass tweeted: “Pleased to be in Mumbai today to participate in launch of big US-sponsored India-Afghanistan trade and investment showcasing #Afghan entrepreneurs and business opportunities.”
“The long wait is over! Looking forward to launch of the second annual India-Afghanistan trade and investment show in #Mumbai tomorrow,” he said, adding that “The competition between the states in India to launch initiatives in support of the private sector lead to the development of the private sector in the country.”
In the meantime, India’s Minister for Industries and Mining also 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 at the JW Marriott Sahar Hotel near Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. 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 around, more than 600 representatives from Afghanistan, India and international businesses are expected to attend the trade show, featuring Afghanistan’s finest productes.
More than 50 agriculture exporters from Afghanistan are currently in the city to explore business tie-ups as well as to showcase their finest agriculture products including fruits, nuts and spices buyers from Maharashtra and neighbouring states.
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 was expected to reach more than $2 billion. The expo would help develop economic ties between Afghanistan and international markets, and further advance trade integration, according to reports.