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Government assures review of POSCO project

Posted on Jan 28, 06:51PM | IBNS

Union Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma on Monday said the government will review the delays that have affected South Korean steel giant POSCO's project in Odisha.

Sharma met his counterparts from South Korea, UAE and Slovenia on the sidelines of the ongoing Partnership Summit at Agra on Monday.

In his meeting with Sukwoo Hong, Minister of Knowledge Economy of the Republic of Korea, Sharma said that Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has led to improvement in trade but in order to achieve the targets, redoubling of efforts is needed in textiles and pharma sectors.

The Korean side raised the issue of delays in POSCO project clearance emphasizing the importance of the project for enhancing the economic ties between the two countries.

They pointed out that this is the biggest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposal in India.

Sharma assured them on this count and said: "We are concerned about the delays and will be conducting a review. The Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) himself is monitoring the issue."

On May 2, 2011, POSCO managed to get the final go-ahead signal from India's environment ministry to set up its steel mill and captive port in Odisha.

However, protests halted work at the site chosen by the Orissa government for POSCO in the coastal village of Govindpur as locals were against setting up of the plant.

The 12- billion-dollar steel plant if built will have a capacity of four million tonnes and is touted to be the largest FDI in India so far.

The Korean minister also briefed Sharma about the candidature of Taeho Bark of South Korea for the post of DG WTO (Director-General of the World Trade Organization).

During his meeting with Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, UAE, Sharma informed that new opportunities have been created by the recent policy reforms in India and invited UAE to invest in various areas, especially in the infrastructures sector.

The UAE Minister suggested that India should participate in 'country presentations' which is an important modality of making investment decisions in UAE.

Sharma and the UAE Minister agreed that the first meeting of the India-UAE High Level Task Force on Investment, for which Sharma is the co-chair from the Indian side, should meet at the earliest.

The co-chair from the other side is Sheikh Hamid Al Nahayan of ADIA.

Sharma also informed that a delegation of airlines Etihad of UAE will meet him in next couple of days.

He emphasized that the total trade with UAE accounts for USUSD 73.81 billion, with UAE being India's top global partner, accounting for 9.02pc of India's trade with the world and consequently India attaches highest importance to our relationship with UAE.

Sharma and Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Technology Radovan Zerjav reviewed the bilateral economic ties and witnessed the signing of three MoUs (Memorandum of Understandings).