The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma has expressed satisfaction with the progress of negotiations of the EU–India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement. The 13th Round of negotiations held from 31st to 6th April, 2011 at Delhi, India. Both sides are committed to a balanced, ambitious agreement by the early 2012. “This agreement will lead to increase of opportunities for market access in both goods and services for both sides” he said during his meeting with Mr. Kris Peeters, Minister President of the Flemish Government and the Flemish Minister for Economy, Foreign Policy, Agriculture and Rural Policy, here today.
Shri Sharma said Belgium is an important trading partner for India and it is India`s 2nd largest trading partner in the European Union. There exists growing trade and investment between the two countries in the face of the global financial slowdown (except in the year 2009-10). Indo-Belgium trade in 2010-11 was US$ 14.90 billion which saw a growth 52.44% over 2009-10. Exports to Belgium in 2010-11 have registered a growth of 67.49% at US $6.29 billion and imports have a growth of 43.04% at US $8.60 billion as compared to 2009-10. The balance of trade continues to be in favour of Belgium.
The top sectors of exports which witnessed growth in F.Y. 2010-11 are Gems & Jewellery, Primary & Semi-finished Iron and Steel, Petroleum, Readymade Cotton, Transport equipments etc. The Primary & Semi-finished Iron and Steel (1264%) and Petroleum (78.33%) saw the maximum growth. The top sectors of imports from Belgium are Pearls Precious and Semi precious Stone, Machinery, Iron & Steel, Organic Chemicals, Artificial Resins, Plastic Materials etc. The non ferrous Metals (49.29%) and Pearls Precious and Semi precious Stone (48.37%) saw the maximum growth. The trade between the two countries is dominated at present by the Gems and Jewellery sector which accounts for about 61% of our bilateral trade and in this sector diamonds accounts for a large part of this trade, much of which happens with the city of Antwerp which is located in the Flemish region.
Shri Sharma emphasized the need to diversify the trade to new areas. These promising areas include communication, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals and automotive parts, energy, ports, dredging, construction, banking and finance, electronics and software, chemicals and fertilizers, renewable energy and biotechnology.
Regarding investment India pointed out the opportunities in Infrastructure that cover the whole gamut of infrastructure including highways, power plants, railways, airports, ports, waterways, industrial facilities etc. The government is committed to developing infrastructure on a big scale with active involvement of the private sector working under a predictable and stable regulatory environment.
India too is an important investor in Flanders (northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp). India has invested about (1.2 billion Euros) and has over 50 Indian companies. Indian investment includes greenfield investments, acquisitions and joint ventures. Year 2010 saw 8 new investment projects. Indian investment is seen across sector like ICT, Pharma, Transport & Machinery and Equipment.