In a bilateral meeting with the European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-Fraud Mr. Algirdas Semeta, here today, the Union Minister for Commerce, Industry & Textiles Shri Anand Sharma, highlighted the need for an early conclusion of ambitious and balanced Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and EU. Shri Sharma stressed the agreement needs to be balanced and should address areas of core interest to India such as services through Mode 1 and Mode 4, agricultural market access and disciplining of Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) for translating concessions into effective market access. He said that this is important both in terms of optics as well as for obtaining the requisite balance in the India-EU BTIA.
Shri Sharma emphasised that in mode-1, India would need to be declared as data secure in order to provide access. The European Union is in the process of undertaking a study to assess whether India’s laws meet the EU directive. “It is our clear analysis that our existing law does meet the required EU standards. We would urge that this issue is sorted out quickly and necessary comfort in declaring India data secure in overall sense needs to be given as almost all the major Fortune -500 companies have trusted India with their critical data”, said Shri Sharma.
With a number of recent reform measures in India, which includes, opening of multi-brand retail trading sector to foreign investors; introducing flexibility in conditions for FDI in single brand product retail trading; allowing FDI in power exchanges; increasing the limit of FDI in Broadcasting sector; allowing FDI through foreign airlines in Civil Aviation sector, Shri Sharma emphasised India’s attractiveness as investment destination in a whole range of sectors from infrastructure to food processing, renewable energy, clean technology, bio-technology, health care, among others. He also highlighted that EU being a union of over 20 countries has strengths in almost all areas in which India needs investment. “Many countries of the EU are particularly strong in state-of-art technology development including green and clean technology for manufacturing industry. Although, the EU accounts for close to 50% of the technical collaborations approved but there is scope for enhancing technology transfer in a range of manufacturing activities,” said Shri Sharma. The cumulative FDI inflows from EU to India are around USD 44.31 billion (April 2000 to July 2012), while on the other hand, the Indian direct investments in EU are of the order of about USD 20 billion (April 2004 –October 2009). It should also be noted that the FDI inflows from April 2011- March 2012, which stood at USD 46.8 billion, showed an increase of around 35 per cent over the last year.
Shri Sharma also expressed happiness at the growing bilateral relations with the European Union, which is bound by common values based on a commitment to democracy, individual rights and sustainable development. While in 2010, the total trade between India and EU was USD 83.372 billion, it rose to to USD 110.268 billion in 2011. During January-September 2012 the bilateral trade stood at USD 76.511 billion.