The 20th Session of India-Italy Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) was held on 26 – 27 February, 2019 in New Delhi. The JCEC is an institutional mechanism for bilateral trade engagement. The meeting was co-chaired by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, from the Indian side and by Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Mr. Michele Geraci, from the Italian side.
Both sides reiterated the importance of the JCEC towards development of bilateral economic and trade relations through facilitating dialogue and enhancing cooperation in a wide range of issues of mutual interest like machinery, infrastructure and engineering, ICT including digitalization, agriculture and IPR.
Speaking on the occasion, Commerce Minister highlighted the importance of Italy as a trade partner for India and said that Italy is India’s 5th largest trading partner in the European Union and 25th in the World during 2017-18. Italy has inherent strengths in manufacturing, design and innovation and skills training while India has a vast pool of skilled human resources, competitive wage rates and an edge in sectors such as leather, gems and jewellery, auto components and textiles. There is an immense potential for Italian and Indian industries to have partnership and cooperation.
Suresh Prabhu informed that bilateral trade with Italy showed growth of 18.41% at USD 10.42 billion during 2017-18. Exports to Italy registered growth of 16.47% at USD 5.71 billion during the period. Imports from Italy also saw a growth of 20.84% to USD 4.71 billion in 2017-2018 as compared to the last year. Total bilateral trade during first ten months of the current year increased by 5.62% at 9.02 billion with export decreased by 2.73% at USD 4.53 billion and imports increased by 15.61% at USD 4.49 billion. He said that both sides should make a concerted effort to promote and expand bilateral trade between the two nations.India’s bilateral trade with Italy during 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 were USD 8.30 billion, USD 8.80 billion and USD 10.42 billion respectively. Bilateral trade during the recent years has been increasing despite global slowdown.
The Commerce Minister said India has an attractive foreign investment policy and a number of liberalization measures have been undertaken in recent years. Italy ranks 17th in FDI inflow in India during April, 2000 to December, 2018. Total FDI inflows from Italy are USD 2.72 billion during this period.
Suresh Prabhu thanked the Italian side for submitting the evaluation report on Tricyclazole (TCA) in rice to European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and removing the alert on Indian Incense Sticks from RAPEX portal.
The Indian Commerce Minister reiterated that India is committed to an early and balanced outcome of India-EU BTIA (Broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement) negotiations.
Mr. Michele Geraci,Deputy Minister of Economic Developmentof Italy said that Italian companies are keen to invest in India and it is time to put in place practical mechanism on the line of the working group on agriculture that has been set up to facilitate investment joint venture agricultural sector both countries. Mr.Geraci further said Italy is looking to work in areas like financial services, renewable energy, infrastructure, transport development in railways, construction and the auto motive sector.
Both Ministers reiterated that issues of market access for business and investment in both countries will be smoothened which will definitely have a positive impact on trade relations of both countries.
The meeting took place in an amicable atmosphere, reflecting the strategic nature of the partnership among the two countries and the desire to further develop and strengthen their economic and commercial ties on the basis of equity and mutual benefit.
As per the agenda of the 20th Session, the two sides reviewed the following issues of mutual interest:
- Economic Developments in India and Italy
- Trade (Bilateral Trade and Diversification of Trade)
- Bilateral Investment (Including Make in India, Startup India)
- Economic & Industrial Cooperation
The two Sides agreed to hold 21th Meeting of the Joint Commission in Italy in 2021.