Kolkata, Jul 2: Italy has set up a ''Go India Fund'' with 300 million euros to assist small and medium Italian companies to start operations in India, Ambassador of Italy in India Antonio Armellini said today.
Interacting with the members of the Merchants' Chamber of Commerce (MCC) here, Mr Armellini said the fund would be extended to a selected group of Italian farms and the business scheme would be operational by end of this year. ''Italy is India's fourth largest trading partner in the European Union (EU) and the 'Go India Fund' is formed to give impetus to Italian companies to help accelerate the bilateral trade,'' Mr Armellini observed.
He said Italy has been a pioneer in the development of ''industrial clusters'' and India has replicated the cluster development programmes with great success in nearly 400 micro, small and medium scale industries across the country.
''I believe that this is an area where there is an untapped potential to promote joint co-operation through joint ventures and technical collaborations between the two countries,'' Mr Armellini maintained.
He said the SME sector accounted for over 90 per cent of industrial units in both Italy and India and therefore, there was a need to strengthen the bilateral trade relationships.
The principal items of India's exports to Italy include amomg others textiles and garments, leather products, drugs, chemicals, marine products and engineering goods.
India, in turn, imports from Italy machinery for precision tools, chemicals, textile, granite machinery, base metals and measuring instruments.