Today the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi Di Maio, has co-chaired, by videoconference, the 21st session of the Italy-India Joint Commission for Economic Cooperation (JCEC) together with the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, Piyush Goyal. The virtual meeting has taken place a few days after Minister Di Maio’s talks with his counterpart Mr. Jaishankar on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign/Development Summit in Matera, showing the countries' commitment to enhance the all-round revival of bilateral relations.
The Foreign Minister has pointed out that, despite the COVID-19 crisis, several Italian companies have continued to invest in various strategic sectors of the Indian economy, such as automotive, food processing and energy transition. This result has also been achieved thanks to the new institutional tools – the Fast-Track Mechanism and the Permanent Digital Platform for Economic Cooperation – put in place to facilitate market access and investment. The two Ministers have also agreed to deepen cooperation in the field of food processing and to explore new opportunities in the textile and leather sectors. To this end, they have decided to set up as many sectoral working groups. Ministers Di Maio and Goyal have also agreed on the importance of deepening the Italy-India partnership and joint investment in third countries.
Minister Di Maio has also focused, in particular, on the commitment to develop a strong partnership on innovation and start-ups, stressing the importance of Indian participation in the upcoming “G20 Innovation League” to be held on the sidelines of the Sorrento Trade Ministerial meeting. Welcoming the outcome of the recent EU-India summit in Porto, Minister Di Maio has reiterated Italy's support to reviving negotiations on the free trade agreement, while hoping for the conclusion of agreements on investment protection and the protection of Geographical Indications.
The Joint Commission has ended with a session on energy transition attended by the Heads of some of the major Italian and Indian companies operating in the sector. While stressing the high potential of a strategic partnership between the two countries in the field of energy transition, Minister Di Maio has emphasised Italy's commitment – through the G20 Presidency and the partnership on COP26 with the United Kingdom – to raise the level of ambition of the international community on the fight against climate change and accelerate the spread of renewable sources. Finally, he has expressed his strong appreciation for the leadership shown by India through the International Solar Alliance, an organisation to which Italy was among the first countries to adhere.