Kamal  Nath

Kamal Nath

Former Commerce and Industry Minister, Union Minister for Urban Development

Date of Birth: 18/11/1946

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wanted more trade with India. During his 16-19 November 2008 trip to New Delhi, he marketed Egypt as a gateway to Africa and an attractive investment in its own right. The pitch fell on the ears of former Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, who was interested in building an Indian industrial zone there. Indian imports mainly oil and gas from Egypt. Bilateral trade stands at US$3 bn. annually; the two countries wanted that to rise to $10 bn. by 2010. India will need to diversify its imports.

As Commerce Minister since 2004, Nath championed India’s new Foreign Trade Policy, a more liberal strategy than under his predecessors, that aims to double exports from 2004-2009. The export target had already been surpassed; Nath then talked of procuring ‘those imports which are required to stimulate our economy’.

In 1980, Nath was elected to Lok Sabra, the lower house in India’s parliament, for Chhindwara constituency, and held the seat in six subsequent terms. In 1991, he took his first cabinet post, as Minister for Environment and Forests. He later served as Textiles Minister. He became Secretary General of the Indian National Congress party in 2001, then took up his post at the Commerce Ministry in May 2004.

Minister Nath opened the Plenary Meeting of the Kimberly Process in New Delhi 3-6 November 2008. India had taken the chair of the KP just as the effects of the financial slowdown hit the international diamond trade.