Need to for Closer Cooperation in Infrastructure – 10 Areas Identified: Anand Sharma – JBC to be Established – India-Italy to Encourage Bilateral Investment flows
During the bilateral meeting with Mr. Paolo Romani, Italian Minister for Economic Development in the first day of his visit to Italy, Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, has emphasised that there is a need for closer cooperation in the field of infrastructure. He highlighted 10 areas for furthering the cooperation viz., infrastructure, manufacturing, design & innovation, ICT, leather, textile, agro-processing, pharma, tourism, training and automobiles. He further added that Italy is an important trading partner for India and is in the top 6 trading partners in the European Union. Shri Sharma and his counterpart agreed to form a Joint Business Council (JBC) managed by FICCI from India and CONFINDUSTRIA from Italy. The JBC will meet once a year coinciding with the bilateral ministerial meeting.
Making a strong pitch on the cooperation in the leather industry, Shri Sharma said that this is important labour-intensive sector and added that Italy has already good presence there and India is keenly interested in upgrading the technology and skills. Both sides agreed to hold Leather Show at Milan next year.
Both the Ministers discusses about the importance of SMEs and agreed that training in SME sector is important area and very soon industry chambers of both the countries will organise workshops and seminars on SMEs. Recognising the Italian strength in design, both the Ministers agreed for linkages between Italian Design Institute and National Institute of Design in India.
During the interaction, Shri Sharma said that India’s National Manufacturing Policy will come out very soon and added that it aims to raise the contribution of manufacturing from 16% to 24%. Shri Sharma also raised the simplification of visa procedure for business leaders and professionals. He informed that he will also raise the same issue with the Foreign Minister when he meets tomorrow.
Shri Sharma mentioned that bilateral trade between the two countries touched US $ 7.36 billion during January – November 2010 as compared to US$ 6.75 billion in 2009. He stressed that we need to work together for bilateral trade to increase further and this calls for additional efforts both bilaterally and in the wider India-EU context. As regards FDI policy in India, Shri Sharma said that it is widely reckoned to be among the most liberal and investor friendly in the emerging economies. He expressed hope that both Governments would work together to encourage bilateral investment flows. Italy ranks 12th in FDI approvals during April, 2000 to November, 2010. Total FDI inflows from Italy are US $ 0.92 billion during this period.