INDIA, ITALY TARGET EUROS 5 BILLION TRADE IN 2 YEARS
SCOPE FOR ITALIAN INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE
Date : 15 Feb 2005
Location : New Delhi
India and Italy have set a bilateral trade target of 5 billion euros to be achieved within two years. This was indicated by Shri Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry, at a meeting of the India-Italy Business Forum, which was attended by the President of Italy Mr. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi and the Italian Minister for Production Activities, Industry, Energy and Trade, Mr. Antonio Marzano, along with the large Italian business delegation accompanying the Italian President and participants from their Indian counterparts represented by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). While the volume of two-way trade between India and Italy with a total turnover of about 3 billion euros was growing at about 10%. Shri Kamal Nath said it was way below the potential and expressed confidence that with the enabling environment in India’s foreign trade sector, trade and industry on both sides would be able to achieve the target.
Underlining the tremendous opportunities for investment in India, Shri Kamal Nath pointed to large gaps in the physical infrastructure and energy generation capacities and said the country was looking at investments to the tune of US $ 150 billion to fill these gaps over a short period of time. Italian investment could target these areas as also opportunities in other areas, he said. He referred to the recent FDI policy initiatives, with many new sectors being opened up to foreign direct investment (FDI) and with FDI up to 100% permitted in most sectors. At his meeting with Mr. Marzano last evening, Shri Kamal Nath had also spoken about the potential of India becoming a gateway to the rest of Asia for goods and components manufactured by joint ventures in the country.
The Minister called upon industries of the two countries to take active initiatives to promote cooperation in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which could be great generators of employment as also avail of the synergies in many areas of bilateral commercial relations, particularly in the fields of textiles (including textile design), leather & leather footwear, and gems & jewellery.
Shri Kamal Nath also sought Italy’s cooperation as an important member of the European Union (EU) in settling the issues of various non-tariff barriers being imposed on supposed grounds of health and sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) standards that the Indian exporters had been facing for long in the EU.
On the multilateral trade front, “we need to work closely as friends and partners to move forward the ongoing trade negotiations in WTO and achieve the goal of ‘development for all’. The process of development demands policy flexibilities for the national governments. While India has certainly moved considerably up the road of development, significant challenges remain”, the Minister said.