New Delhi: Addressing the 8th India-EU Business Summit on “Technology & Innovation for Sustainable Development”, Kamal Nath, minister for commerce and industry, said that India is committed to a rule-based multilateral trading system that can address global inequalities in international trade.
“India is looking into areas of natural synergy with the European Union (EU),” said he, assuring India’s commitment to a successful Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU as well as the Doha round of the WTO negotiations.
“India’s rural sector offers great business and investment opportunities in the area of agro-processing and a second agricultural revolution is waiting to happen,” he added. He also lauded the entrepreneurship spirit of India, which is emerging as a hub of high technology, software solutions, engineering and knowledge process outsourcing destination.
Peter Mandelson, trade commissioner, European Union, also attended the summit, which was jointly organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
Saying that India was an important trade partner of the EU, Mandelson praised India for unilaterally reducing tariffs. He said that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms in certain sectors should ease-off for more European investments to come into India.
The Prime Minister of Portugal, Jose Socrates, said that the European Union has committed a financial assistance of Euro470 million to India. He suggested setting up of an European Centre for Business and Technology to enhance the economic and technological cooperation between India and the EU.
President of the CII, Sunil Bharti Mittal, urged both the sides to work towards a fair and equitable trade relationship and ensure that the economic benefits reach out to the all the sections of the population.
Habib Khorakiwala, president, Ficci, noted that successful completion of the India-EU FTA would go a long way in achieving higher levels of trade and investment. “A strong multilateral trading system is crucial to realize the objective of free and fair trade,” he added.