New Delhi: Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, Shri Piyush Goyal today addressed the CII: EU-India Business Roundtable Closing Session. This closing session of India-EU Business Roundtable coincided with the 16th India-EU Summit. During the meeting, the leaders expressed their desire to further strengthen the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on a shared commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and multilateralism. They exchanged views on three key thematic areas: i) foreign policy and security; ii) COVID-19, climate and environment; and iii) trade, connectivity and technology. They discussed forging closer cooperation on combating the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery, tackling climate change, and reforming multilateral institutions. India appreciated the prompt assistance provided by the EU and its member states to combat its second COVID wave.
Shri Goyal, in his address, expressed happiness at the landmark announcement made by leaders of India and EU today on the resumptions of negotiations for bilateral Free Trade and Investment Agreements. He said that India and the European Union are committed to work towards a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement and a separate investment protection agreement on a parallel track, and together we shall strive for early conclusion of both the agreements simultaneously. “Both these agreements are going to lift our economic relationship to another level with enhanced bilateral flow of trade, investments, job creation, technology transfers and innovations. These will be separate agreements and negotiated in a parallel track. We are also committed to concluding them together at an early date.”
Shri Goyal said that India received its highest ever Foreign Direct Investment in its history, despite COVID-19, even while investments worldwide fell down. Dwelling upon the reasons, he said that investments are protected in India. “We have a very strong judiciary and respect for rule of law, transparency in all decision making, political stability, IPR protection. There is no compulsion for any company to do technology transfer in India. We are actively working towards improvement in our ease of doing business rankings, in our competitiveness, de-bureaucratising systems and making procedures simpler, opening up newer sectors for more FDI, strengthening regulatory practices.”
The Minister said that as the world moves to realign from the over-concentrated and risky supply chain, he would like to reassure all business friends that they can trust India to provide a multitude of Investment and manufacturing opportunities. He said that our manpower skills and talent have contributed to businesses around the world. “Therefore, India can become a natural manufacturing base to make the products from European innovation, competitive in the world. With the large Indian market of more than 1 billion people aspiring for a better quality of life and using economies of scale to expand the footprint of European goods in the world, this is a win-win partnership.”
On the concept of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Shri Goyal said that it does not mean being protectionist and closing our doors to the world. On the contrary, India wishes to open its doors wider and warmly welcomes businesses from across the world to bring world class technologies to India, state-of-the-art products and services into India & investments in manufacturing, services & infrastructure, he added. He expressed the hope that our track record should give confidence to European friends that India will be their natural & most reliable ally in the years to come. Shri Goyal said that European businesses are well known for their innovative work and scientific discovery. He said that with cost of production in Europe being high and manufacturing cost in India being reasonable, European businesses can get competitive edge by producing in India.
The Minister said that we are currently ramping up our vaccine production so that we can expand our vaccination coverage speedily. He said that the support extended by the EU during this crisis is highly appreciated.
Shri Goyal invited the business community of EU and India to use this opportunity and actively take part in the joint efforts to bolster and develop our trade ties, economic ties, people to people ties and cultural relationships.