India has invited domestic and international companies to take part in the next level of its liberal economic reforms, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said on Tuesday at the inauguration of the India International Trade Fair (IITF)-2006 in New Delhi.
"After 15 years of economic reforms, we have moved towards the second stage of calibrated and comprehensive economic liberalisation programme," Nath said.
"I would like to invite domestic and international companies to participate in the process," he said at the sprawling Pragati Maidan fair grounds.
The twin themes of this year's trade fair - reputedly Asia's largest - is tourism and small and medium enterprises, he said, adding that both were huge employment generators.
"Emphasis will have to be laid on ensuring enough labour intensive activity in manufacturing and services sectors to create adequate absorption of workers from the rural and agro sectors," he said, outlining his growth strategy.
The minister said it was important for India to retain its traditional appeal in certain sectors like handicrafts.
"But it is equally important to achieve higher level of value addition in other sectors in consonance with the changing requirements of the global market."
The fortnight-long 26th IITF will see the participation of 34 countries. There are 7,500 participants, domestic and overseas, in the fair that is expected to draw over 2.5 million visitors and 3,00,000 business representatives.
In the fair, China - being represented by nearly 200 companies - is the partner country and Thailand, the focus country.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who formally inaugurated the fair, said the event offered a great opportunity for all participants and people would get a glimpse of a mini-India through the various stalls.
Organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation, the fair will unfold opportunities for launching new products, test marketing and appointment of distributors, and for forging joint ventures, technology transfer pacts and collaborations.