India, France to double bilateral trade to $16 billion

India, France to double bilateral trade to $16 billion

New Delhi: India and France on Monday pledged to double bilateral trade to €12 billion (about $16 billion) by 2012 by stepping up cooperation and investment in sectors like energy, water and infrastructure.

“President Nicolas Sarkozy and I have renewed our determination to achieve the (bilateral) trade target of €12 billion by 2012," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement after at a joint press conference in New Delhi.

The bilateral trade between the two countries was over €6 billion during 2009-10.

“We will examine their (India-France CEOs Forum) recommendations on increasing investments in energy, water and infrastructure sectors, establishment of joint ventures in third countries, and enhancing collaboration in areas of research and development and higher education," Singh further said.

In a joint statement issued later, the two countries welcomed the private sector involvement in boosting bilateral trade and cross investment in sectors like automobiles, electrical equipments, rail transport and water utilities.

It said that France and India recognised the importance of agriculture and food processing sector for ensuring affordable food production in both the countries.

In his statement, Singh said India would work closely with France to push forward the global economic recovery and better regulation of the international financial sector.

After his meeting with French minister for economy and finance Christine Lagarde, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said the business leaders of the two countries have identified areas like aerospace, infrastructure and renewable energy for cooperation.

Largde said the French government will fund, along with the World Bank, a feasibility study of cleaning the holy river Ganga.

She said about 750 French companies,employing 2 lakh people are operating in India.