New Delhi, Feb 4: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath has said that India is in a phase of rapid economic growth and its engagement with the world community is increasing.
During a bilateral meeting with the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Anne Marie Idrac here on Tuesday, Feb 3.
Nath said Indo-French trade was worth US 8.85 billion dollars during 2007-08 (exports - 2.6 billion dollars and imports - 6.25 billion dollars) and added that there is a need to work together to create a balance in bilateral trade.
The meeting was attended by G K Pillai, Commerce Secretary; Ajay Shankar, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion; senior government officials and representatives from trade and industry from both the countries.
Interacting with the French Minister, Nath described India as a growing market for French products, including luxury products and stressed about the importance of establishing linkages between SMEs on both sides for laying a strong foundation for growth of trade and investment flows.
"Both sides agreed for enhanced bilateral cooperation in areas like information technology and telecommunications, posts, energy, roads, urban development, railways and agriculture," he added.
Discussing the status and progress in WTO negotiations, Nath said: "India continues to believe strongly in a rule-based, transparent and fair multilateral trade regime.
One of the factors which will have an important bearing on the conclusion of the Round is whether the developed countries would be willing to show the necessary flexibility for finalising a multilateral deal."
"However, India has been engaging constructively and actively with other fellow member countries of the WTO in the expectation that this would be forthcoming. A conclusion would of course depend on whether the WTO Members are faithful to the mandate and the final outcome reflects a clear balance between market opening and the development needs of the majority of the membership," he added.
France is the ninth largest investor in India with cumulative FDI of US 1.3 billion dollars since August 1991. Top sectors that attracted FDI inflows during 2000 to 2008 were: services; chemicals; cement and gypsum; automobile industry and petroleum and natural gas.
Top Indian companies who invested in France are Ranbaxy Laboratories; Electrosteel Castings; Pan Music and Magazines.
The major French companies who have invested in India are - Aventis Cropscience SA; Essilor International; Alcatel CIT; Arevat and D Holding SA; and Ciments Francails.
India's main exports to France during 2007-08 included RMG cotton; petroleum (crude and products) machinery and instruments; transport equipments; and footwear of leather, while India''s major imports from France were: electronic goods, iron and steel; gold; chemical products; and machinery.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)