“India and the EU are charting a course for a shared future.” said His Excellency, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission speaking at the India – EU Business Forum at Taj Mansingh, New Delhi. The forum was hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), and the European Business Group (EBG).
He noted that the EU is one of the largest investors into India and this will remain the same even after BREXIT. It will still have 449 million consumers remaining the second largest economy in the world. The two are natural partners as they have a partnership built on shared values of democracy and tolerance. This will help the two face the challenges of terrorism and climate change. European know-how can be used in the ‘Clean Ganga’ project and is already giving finance and business inputs to other water sanitation project and large infrastructure and metro projects. “Today’s summit will allow us to create a way forward to conclude the India-EU BTIA” he said.
Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs positively noted that “India and the EU are both in the middle of a transformation. They are both rejuvenating themselves. 25% of our FDI comes from Europe. Together we could become the defining partnership for the 21st century. In this century, seas, skies and space including cyber space will control the economy. The three have no boundaries. India and the EU have shown how boundaries can become soft and shared space. Together we can find a way to a new horizon far faster than if we were travelling alone.”
Mr. Andrew McDowell, Vice President, European Investment Bank, brought attention to the amount investment that the bank is making in Asia in general and in India in particular. Among the major recent projects are the Bangalore and Lucknow metro projects. “We are extremely satisfied by the coordination of the Indian government and the cooperation of the Indian public sector,” he said.
Ms. Shobana Kamineni, President CII, welcoming Mr. Juncker, expressed her appreciation for his presence as reinforcing the strong ties that the EU wishes to foster with India and Indian Industry. She reiterated CII’s support for a successful conclusion of the India-EU Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) that is currently beingnegotiated which will have positive effects on trade and market access for both economies. Ms. Kamineni conveyed her hope for a continued and mutually beneficial relationship to create a virtuous cycle of growth and opportunity.
“India and the EU enjoy comprehensive and detailed engagements in all domains of mutual interest,” said Mr.Harshpati Singhania, Past-President FICCI. He noted that both India and EU need to whole-heartedly commit themselves as “equal stakeholders to reinvigorate and rediscover our trade and economic ties.” This would also assist the successful conclusion of the India – EU FTA.
The Chairman of the EBG federation, Mr. Raman Sidhu, also emphasized the importance of the successful conclusion of the BTIA. The gains from it would be deep in terms of improved, market access, government procurement and help create a level playing field. He noted the urgent need for movement on policy on both sides.
Mr. S.C. Agarwal, Senior Managing Committee Member, ASSOCHAM, emphasized the need for India and EU to promote economic cooperation and explore new opportunities. Delivering the vote of thanks, he expressed a hope that such forums have enormous potential and should remain functional.