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
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.