New Delhi– India and Egypt on Thursday agreed to increase their two-way trade to $8 billion from $3 billion in the near future.

“We are looking at intensifying the dialogue to enhance trade volume to $8 billion from $3 billion between the two countries,” said Indian apex body Ficci here.

Addressing the fourth India-Egypt Business Council meeting, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) here, Indian Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya said 52 Indian firms, including 25 joint ventures with $3-billion investments across sectors, were operating in Egypt.

“With 89 million consumers, the second largest in Africa, and a $286-billion economy, Egypt represents immense potential and scope,” the Indian envoy said on the occasion.

The meeting coincides with the first official visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sasi to India.

“Leadership of both countries is committed to enhance cooperation in all sectors a” political, cultural, economy and defence,” said Egyptian Ambassador to India Hatem Tageldin on the occasion.

Tageldin also called upon the Indian entrepreneurs to tap the opportunities in chemicals, petrochemicals, textiles, auto-components, mining and renewable energy in his country and across the Suez Economic Corridor.

Calling upon Egyptian business to work closely with the Indian industry for new partnership, Bhattacharyya said as there were opportunities and challenges, there was a need for broad understating between the two sides to take things forward.

“There are opportunities in hydrocarbons and development projects the Egyptian government had launched,” noted Bhattacharyya.

Urging the Indian industry to explore their country’s potential, the council’s Egyptian members offered incentives, including free land, Intellectual Property (IP) protection and 10-year tax exemption.

Council chairman Vijay Sankar said though cooperation had expanded in diverse areas, there was need to reverse slowdown in the trade between the two countries.

In a related development, Lava International India Ltd and Easy Group of Egypt signed an agreement to set up a joint venture to market mobile phones and IT-related equipment in Egypt and manufacture them to market them in North Africa and the Gulf region.