Tuesday, December 15, 2009

India-Italy to Strengthen Economic and Commericial Relations

Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry co-chaired the Indo-Italian Joint Commission for Economic Partnership with Mr. Claudio Scajola, Italian Minister for Economic Development, here today. Shri Sharma mentioned that bilateral trade between India and Italy touched US $ 8.1 billion during 2008-09 compared to US $ 7.8 billion in the previous year, despite the global economic slowdown. “With economy recovery clearly in sight in India, this forum could provide an impetus to take the partnership to the next higher level”, he added. During the discussions both the Ministers felt that the existing relationship needs to be strengthened and further developed to enhance bilateral economic and commercial relations.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed at the Joint Commission Meeting here today by Shri Anand Sharma and Mr. Claudio Scajola in the following areas: FICCI-ICE in Trade & Investment Promotion, Indian Trade Missions to Italian fairs, training courses and protection of Intellectual Property Rights; FICCI Arbitration and Conciliation Tribunal (FACT) – Chamber of Arbitration of Milan (CAM) in arbitration and dispute resolution; and INVESTINDIA-SIMEST and INVITALIA in bilateral investments.

Shri Sharma informed his counterpart that infrastructure development is an attractive investment opportunity and a priority area for the Indian government. India has invited investment and joint ventures in Ultra Mega Power Projects, textile machinery, agricultural food processing, automotive components and wine technology. India has offered expertise in Railways, Information technology and textiles sector.

Major issues of interest discussed by both sides were information technology, fashion design, small and medium enterprises, tourism, agriculture and food processing, infrastructure, transport, investment, automotive components, environment and energy, textiles, leather, gems and jewellery, financial cooperation and reciprocal trade promotion. The Italian side offered partnership in e-identity cards and creation of a design centre at Ahmedabad. Cooperation in shipping and developments of ports infrastructure was also high on the agenda of the Italian side. In the renewable energy sector solar energy, waste-to-energy, second generation bio-fuels and green buildings were identified for cooperation.

Both sides exchanged views about the ongoing Doha Round of negotiations and agreed that the conclusion of the round would be an important positive signal in this economic situation. The Indian side pointed out that it was committed to uphold the development dimension and the need to safeguard livelihood concerns, particularly of the poor and subsistence farmers in their countries.

The next meeting of the Joint Commission between India and Italy will be held in Italy during 2010.

India’s exports to Italy mainly consist of transport equipments, readymade garments, machinery & instruments, primary & semi-finished iron & steel, cotton yarn, fabrics & made-ups, footwear of leather, manufacture of metals, ferro-alloys, gems & jewellery and inorganic & organic chemicals. Major items of imports from Italy are machinery except electrical & electronics, transport equipments, iron & steel, other commodities.

Earlier, Shri Anand Sharma and Mr. Claudio Scajola jointly inaugurated the India–Italy Joint business and Investment Forum. Representatives of Tuscany, Sicily, Piedmont, Lazio and Marche regions of Italy attended the Investment Forum, apart from apex chambers from both sides.

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