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Country system: Italy-India – dynamic relations, but there’s space for growth

26 May 2011

Italian-Indian relations have entered a highly dynamic stage but further effort is needed if “System Italy” is to achieve concrete goals with a partner such as India, which has become a major world power. This was the conclusion reached at a meeting in New Delhi for representatives of the Italian business community in India.

Opening the proceedings, Ambassador Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte read out some encouraging bilateral statistics: Italian-Indian trade rose to 7.2 billion euros in 2010, with Italian exports up 23%. Italy is India’s 4th EU trade partner, and the 7th in terms of foreign direct investment. But, continued the Ambassador, “only 1% of Italian exports are to India. That means we need to do more”, alongside the steps already taken by Fiat, Eni, Finmeccanica, Lavazza, Perfetti and the many other companies that have entered into joint ventures with Indian partners.

“India”, underscored the Ambassador, “has an annual growth rate of around 9%, rising domestic demand, a developing middle class, strong public investment and numerous key sectors”. These strong points are countered by weaknesses such as “high inflation, poor infrastructure, red tape and inflexibilities in business practice”.

Ambassador Sanfelice reminded his listeners that the President of Confindustria, Emma Marcegaglia, has defined 2011 as the “Year of India”. She herself will be taking part in a mission to India led by the Minister for Economic Development, Paolo Romani, to promote “System Italy”. The mission will take place in early November 2011 and will focus on five priority sectors on the Indian demand side: machinery, automobiles, infrastructure, energy and the agro-industry.

“As information provided by the Embassy, the Italian Trade Institute (ICE) and the Indian-Italian Chamber of Commerce points out, our Indian counterparties continue to ask us to expand bilateral cooperation in the small- and medium-sized business sector. Over the next few years India would like to see the share of its gross domestic product (GDP) represented by manufacturing rise from 15 to 25%”.

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