New Delhi, March 10 (PTI): India and France on Saturday committed to increase bilateral trade to 15 billion euro by 2022 and “timely relaunching” of negotiations on the India-EU free trade agreement.
Both the countries also stressed on the importance of “open and inclusive global trade” and vowed to work together with all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for an “open and inclusive global trade”.
A joint statement issued after the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron said the two countries stressed on the importance of holding annual dialogue at the ministerial level to deepen cooperation in the economic and financial sectors.
“Both sides noted with satisfaction the growth in bilateral trade during the recent period, and expressed their desire that this momentum be sustained with the aim of raising trade in goods to 15 billion euros by 2022,” the statement said.
India-France bilateral trade rose to USD 10.96 billion (8.91 billion euro) in 2016-17 from USD 8.3 billion (6.74 billion euro) in 2015-16.
Modi and Macron also agreed that India and the EU should deepen their cooperation on multilateral and security issues, as well as on economic, trade and climate change issues, the statement said.
“They expressed support to the efforts of both sides to re-engage actively towards timely relaunching of negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial EU-India Broad Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA),” it added.
Launched in June 2007, negotiations for the proposed India-EU BTIA have witnessed many hurdles due to major differences on crucial issues like intellectual property rights and duty cut on automobile and spirit.
The pact is aimed at reducing or significantly eliminating tariffs on goods, facilitate trade in services and boost investments between the two sides.
India and France also reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development.
“They reaffirmed their commitment to work together with all members of the WTO, which would reaffirm the centrality of the rules-based multilateral trading system and its importance for open and inclusive global trade,” the statement said.
Strengthening of Indo-French technological cooperation on renewable energy is a “common priority”, it said while stressing on the need for mobilising public and private funds to support the development of solar energy.
Both the countries encouraged SMEs and mid-cap companies to play a growing role in the economic and commercial exchanges.
Reaffirming their commitment to facilitate a conducive environment for enhancing bilateral trade and investment, the leaders underlined the importance of regular and sustained economic cooperation dialogue through the India-France Joint Committee.
The two sides also noted the involvement of French companies in several new and ongoing manufacturing partnership projects in India and were pleased with the robust expansion of research and development conducted by these companies in India. They also highlighted the attractiveness of France for Indian investors, it said.