INDIA, SWITZERLAND TO PROMOTE BILATERAL TRADE AND INVESTMENT
INDO-SWISS JOINT COMMISSION MEETING HELD
Date : 08 Dec 2004
Location : New Delhi
India and Switzerland have emphasized their commitment for further promoting bilateral trade and investment at the 9th Meeting of the Indo-Swiss Joint Commission held here today.
The Indian delegation was led by Shri Abhijit Sengupta, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India and the Swiss delegation was led by Ambassador Jörg Reding, Head of Bilateral Economic Relations, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Government of Switzerland.
The meeting noted with satisfaction the positive developments in the bilateral economic relations especially the increase by 24 per cent in the total bilateral trade so far in 2004. The Swiss government acknowledged and appreciated the various initiatives taken by the Indian government on economic reforms in the competitive and globalising world-economy. In this context, both sides noted that India is in the process of introducing the WTO compatible product patent regime from January 1, 2005.
Both sides exchanged views on regional, multilateral / WTO issues emphasising the common interests and appreciated each others perception of the future work programme in the WTO. The talks also covered the initiatives taken by India in enlarging the framework of its free/preferential trade agreements with its important business partners.
The Indian delegation raised the issue related to social security contribution in Switzerland and the need for a simple framework for serving legal notices from India and made a proposal for Swiss technical assistance in organic shrimp farming, which Swiss side agreed to examine. Questions related to promotion of investment, joint venture and technology transfer in core sectors, setting up of a Joint Business Council and bilateral co-operation in IT & Biotechnology sectors were also discussed.
The Swiss delegation raised some issues related to Intellectual Property rights such as efficient patent regime for attracting good R&D linked investment, tax issues such as relatively high import duties and on the existing tax system. The need to improve market access as well as investment and trade conditions/business restrictions particularly on Press Note 18 and the introduction of VAT in India covered other areas of discussions.
With the growing international recognition of the strengths of the Indian Biotechnology sector, a Swiss business delegation to India led by SOFI is planned for early next year. The Indian side also requested to Swiss side to avail of the opportunity of participation in the Indiasoft to be held in Chennai on 21-22 March 2005 in order to enhance bilateral cooperation in software sector. In addition, the Swiss delegation expressed its interest for new business co-operations and investments from India and pointed out Switzerland’s strengths as "Business Location in Europe", characterized by liberal market conditions, a future-oriented research and development base, excellent infrastructure and its highly productive workforce.