India, Italy Hold Talks On Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement

India-Italy bilateral trade stood at over $16 billion in 2022.
India-Italy bilateral trade stood at over $16 billion in 2022.

India and Italy have discussed progress of talks on the proposed free trade agreement between New Delhi and the European Union (EU) and hope for its early conclusion, the commerce ministry said today.

In January last year, India and the EU resumed negotiations for a free trade agreement, investment protection and Geographical Indications (GI). Italy is a member of the EU.

The issue came up for discussion in the meeting of Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Foreign Office Antonio Tajani here on April 12.

"The ministers underlined the importance of achieving a free, balanced and fair free trade agreement and hoped that it would be concluded soon," it said.

They also agreed to the convening of the next session of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) in Rome in the last week of September.

Antonio Tajani suggested the formation of a Joint Working Group in the strategic areas such as space, technology, defence and agriculture to increase cooperation.

Antonio Tajani suggested strengthening the parliamentary friendship group diplomacy between the parliaments of the two countries and exploring scope for having a cyber dialogue.

Piyush Goyal also emphasised on enhancing the bilateral cooperation in the field of clean energy to achieve sustainability to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

Piyush Goyal is on an official visit here. He is accompanied by a large business delegation which includes Indian industry and exporters from different sectors.

Meanwhile, addressing businesses of India and Italy here, Piyush Goyal said that huge investment opportunities are there in India for Italian companies.

On India's exports, he said that India exported goods and services worth $676 billion in 2021-22. "We just closed March 31, 2022-23 with an even bigger record of about  $765 billion." He expressed hope that the exports would reach  $2 trillion by 2030.

India-Italy bilateral trade stood at over  $16 billion in 2022. During April-January 2022-23, India's exports to Italy stood at  $7.15 billion, while imports aggregated at $4.6 billion. The trade gap is in favour of India.

Italy is the 17th largest foreign investor in India, with a cumulative FDI of $3.25 billion between April 2000 and December 2022. It accounts for about 0.52 per cent of the total FDI India received during the period.

The main items of Indian exports to Italy are ready-made garments, leather, iron ore, motor vehicles, textiles, chemicals, gems and jewellery. Main imported items include machinery, machine tools, metallurgical products and engineering items.

Around 140 large Italian companies are active in India. Some of the major Italian companies that have invested in India are FIAT Auto, Heinz Italia, Italcementi, Necchi Compressori, Perfetti, Lavazza, ENI, SAI India, Isagro (Asia) Agrochemicals and Piaggio.

Indian companies present in Italy are in sectors such as IT, electronics, pharmaceuticals, automobile, textile and engineering.

The prominent Indian companies operating in Italy include TCS, Wipro, Engineers India Limited, L&T, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ranbaxy, and Raymonds.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)