In a meeting with Ms Nicole Bricq, French Minister for External Trade, the Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma today said that a Broad-based Indian-EU Trade and Investment Agreement has seen fifteen rounds of negotiations. The Chief negotiators are meeting in March and hoped that this would be the last round of negotiations. “Loose ends, if any, will be dealt at the Ministerial level in April.” Both sides expect to be able to close negotiations by summer of April 2013 and hope for a balanced an ambitious agreement. Shri Sharma emphasised the need of declaration of Data Adequacy Status from EU to enable EU Commitments in cross-border supply to be commercially meaningful to India. We are also concerned with the proposed Safeguard Clause for Mode 4 commitments for contractual Services Supplies & Independent Professionals as this will greatly reduce potential benefits. We hope the France can take the lead in resolving this issue, said Shri Sharma.
Both the leaders noted the countries have been unable to reach the target of 12 billion Euros by 2012. More needs to be done to achieve this target, Shri Sharma told Ms. Bricq. He explained the opportunities for French side in India™s National Manufacturing Industrial Zones.
Shri Sharma conveyed to the French industry leaders, who met him separately, that there is considerable scope for French investments especially in high-tech sectors, environmental technologies, energy including renewable, infrastructure and food processing.
Shri Sharma said that the Indian government has allowed FDI in single-brand retail up to 100 per cent which was a longstanding request particularly of the French luxury industry. Hence, Shri Sharma said that French luxury brands should start making plans for investments in India. The French mono brands need to look at India not only as a market for their products but also as an opportunity for production of high quality products through the integration of the millions of Indian craftsman into the global luxury value chain, conveyed Shri Sharma to the French industry leaders. Apart from this Shri Sharma also said that with the liberalization of FDI in multi-brand retail, India also expects French retailers to bring in the technologies and expertise to create a beneficial value chain from farm to fork.
Shri Sharma also expressed India™s willingness to have institutional tie-ups with relevant French institutions and National Institute of Design. Tie-ups with fashion institutes of France would be a win-win situation for both countries, added Shri Sharma. The bilateral trade between India and France stood at over US$ 9.4 billion in 2012 registering a robust growth even in the backdrop of a difficult economic climate. France is India™s fifth largest trading partner and investor in Europe, and fourth largest recipient in Europe of Indian investments.