Italy says huge potential in ICT, aerospace, health-care, agriculture, infrastructure to boost economic ties with India

Huge potential exists in sectors like information and communications technology (ICT), aerospace, health-care, agri, infrastructure and transport to boost trade and investments between India and Italy, a top Italian official said Monday.
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Huge potential exists in sectors like information and communications technology (ICT), aerospace, healthcare, agri, infrastructure and transport to boost trade and investments between India and Italy, a top Italian official said Monday. Italy’s Deputy Minister for Economic Development Michele Geraci said that his government is finalising a programme to attract more foreign investments by cutting red-tape, increasing fiscal incentives, and speeding up the procedures of legal disputes.

“Italy and India are two countries with an enormous potential of cooperation – from ICT to aerospace, from healthcare to agri-food and food processing, from infrastructure and transport to energy and green economy,” Geraci told PTI in an e-mail interview. He said that all these fields would become the main pillars of future economic bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

The Italian minister said that Indian IT engineers are among the best-skilled in the world and they can help Italy in pushing the digital revolution in the European country. “We are planning to launch a world exchange program for start-up companies, choosing several pilot-economies, among which we are considering to select India, a country with a stabile growth perspective and an immense potential of development,” he added.

Talking about the long-stalled negotiations for the proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union, he said, “In May, we will have EU Parliamentarian elections, so I presume to see significant progress in this FTA. We will have to wait next year”. The Italian minister is here for DST-CII India Italy Technology Summit.

The negotiations for the FTA, officially dubbed as Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), have been held up since May 2013 as both the sides are yet to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues. Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed BTIA have witnessed many hurdles with both sides having major differences on key issues like intellectual property rights, duty cut in automobile and spirits, and liberal visa regime. The two sides have to iron out differences related to movement of professionals.

The bilateral trade between the countries increased to USD 10.5 billion in 2017-18 from USD 8.8 billion in the previous fiscal. India is Italy’s fifth largest trading partner in the EU.

India main exports to Italy includes iron, steel, chemicals, petroleum products, footwear, vehicles, marine products jewellery. Imports includes machinery for textile, parts and accessories for vehicles, paper and cardboard, machine tools for metal shaping and ornamental and building stone, limestone, gypsum, chalk and slate.

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