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Italy, India agree to boost bilateral trade

Date: 19-12-2009
Subject: Italy, India agree to boost bilateral trade

New Delhi Italy and India are eager to boost their bilateral trade from the current level of $ 8 billion to at least $ 10 billion by 2010.

The visiting Italian minister of economic development, Claudio Scajola described India as “the fastest growing market fuelled by the increasing population of middle class with rising income levels.”

Addressing the Italy-India Business Mission-2009 jointly organized by the Italian Institute of Foreign Trade – ITALIA – and the apex Indian industry body, FICCI in Delhi on Monday, Scajola said :”the bilateral trade between the two countries is only $ 8 billion. We need to boost it to at least $ 10 billion. We are interested in transferring technology and innovations to India. Italy would be interested in investing in infrastructure, transport, communication, banking, energy sectors. We are also interested in the renewable energy sector also.”

He described India as an important market for Italian products, especially for food processing, machine tools, infrastructure, transport, telecom, and energy, particularly renewable energy.

He urged Indian companies to take advantage of the opportunities for collaboration with their Italian counterparts as Italian companies would be willing to transfer knowledge and innovation in their respective domains to their Indian partners.

Scajola is leading a 210-member large official-cum-business delegation to India. A similar India-Italian business conclave is scheduled in Mumbai from December 16.

The Italian business delegation represents agrofood, agroindustry, apparel textiles and leather, biotechnology, chemical, construction, cosmetics, electronics, environment and energy, furniture and home furnishing, high technology, ICT, jewellery, machinery, material and supplies, meccatronics and services sectors.

Italy is one of the largest economies in the 27-nation Euro-zone and is characterized by the predominant presence of small and medium sized industries. Italy is India’s fourth largest trading partner in the European Union. In terms of exports from India, Italy stands in the 11th position, while it stands 23rd in imports to India.

Major items of India’s exports to Italy are textile yarn and fabrics, apparel and clothing accessories, automobiles and components, chemical products, refined petroleum products, footwear, iron and steel, leather and leather products. Major items of India’s imports from Italy are machinery and mechanical appliances, basic chemical products, automotive components, engines, power generators, audiovisual devices, machine tools, precision equipment.

Though the bilateral trade is still at modest levels, it has been growing at a steady rate with a yearly average of 30% and the maximum growth of 43% was witnessed in 2006-07.

At the signing of the Memorandum of Intent (MoI) between ‘Invest India’ and ‘Invitalia’, Indian minister for commerce and industry, Anand Sharma expressed the hope that bilateral FDI flows would gather momentum as the agreement provides a single point of contact for existing and potential foreign investors seeking opportunities for investment or those who face impediments to their investments, or seek more information on applicable legislation and regulations.

‘Invest India’, is a joint venture between the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP), Government of India and FICCI and ‘Invitalia’ is the Italian National Agency for Inward Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development.

Sharma said, “This is the time for India and Italy to engage more than ever before. Prior to the recession that gripped the world, India grew annually at 9% consecutively for the past five years. Last year the Indian economy clocked a growth rate of 6.2% and next year hopefully we will do 7% and by 2011, we will return to the 9% growth trajectory.”

He said, India was today one of the fastest growing economies. This was possible to achieve “because of the dynamism of its people, the strength of its industry, the availability of skilled youth, strong economic fundamentals, a huge domestic market and a society which was governed by the rule of law.”

FICCI and Italian business organisations signed three other cooperation agreements at the ‘Forum Italy-India’. These include: MoU between FICCI and Italian Institute of Foreign Trade, FICCI Arbitration and Conciliation Tribunal (FACT) and the Chamber of Arbitration of Milan; and Invest India & SIMEST.

Sharma said Indian industry had seen exponential growth across sectors, especially in manufacturing, automobiles, engineering, pharmaceuticals, design, apparels, gems and jewellery. Italy, which was known the world over for its SME success story was a global leader in fashion, design and there was great scope for the SMEs of the countries to collaborate and cooperate by way of joint venture and technology transfer.

The Minister said, in the next 10 years, India’s infrastructure sector would absorb $ 1.5 billion. This provided a good opportunity for Italian expertise to cash in on the huge Indian market.

Source : Expressindia.com

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