India seeks French investment in infra, transport, energy

Sharma requested the French Minister to encourage French companies to participate in key sectors in India such as infrastructure, transport, high technology and energy.

Updated: Jul 09, 2013, 21:54 PM IST

New Delhi: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma Tuesday held bilateral talks with his counterpart, Nicole Bricq, the French Minister for Foreign Trade, in Paris.

Sharma requested the French Minister to encourage French companies to participate in key sectors in India such as infrastructure, transport, high technology and energy.

He stressed the need for the French Government to provide strategic support to French industries interested in doing business with India while assuring that the Government of India was committed to providing a conducive and positive policy environment for foreign investments in several key sectors.

Sharma also stressed the need for strong French support at the political level for early conclusion of the India-EU BTIA which would contribute to growth in bilateral trade and investment. He also invited the French Minister to visit India at her earliest convenience.

Earlier yesterday, Anand Sharma inaugurated the 6th Session of the India-France CEOs Forum along with the French Minister for Economy and Finance Pierre Moscovici.

Addressing the Forum, he highlighted the strong growth fundamentals of India which remain rooted in deep democratic values and urged the French investors to enhance their engagement of Indian firms and investment in India to develop a win-win partnership in keeping with the elevated political relations between the two strategic partners.

Sharma also emphasised the need for the larger French companies to support the French SME sector in developing its presence in India.

Outlining the provisions of India's National Manufacturing Policy (NMP), the Indian Minister told the French CEOs about the opportunities of investment being created in the green field integrated and self-governing National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs) both along and outside the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.

He also addressed issues raised by some French CEOs, the most important being the issue of patent protection in India. He clarified that India's Intellectual Property laws were completely TRIPs compliant and India has used the TRIPs flexibility with far greater restraint than a number of other countries, including some developed countries.

On the Novaritis case, Sharma explained that it was ruling by the highest Court and not an executive pronouncement.

The French Minister for Economy and Finance said that India's growth potential was well understood in France as was exemplified by the presence of more than 700 French companies in India.

He also stated that France supported signing of the India-Europe Broad-based Investment and Trade Agreement (BTIA) in the spirit of mutual benefit.

Anand Sharma also held meetings with CEOs of French companies with a large presence in India including La Farge and Capgemini. The French CEOs apprised him of their future plans in India and offered suggestions to further improve the investment climate.

Sharma stressed the shared global and strategic vision of India and France while thanking French President Francois Hollande for the keen interest shown in India-France commercial relations. Earlier yesterday, he attended a reception by the French President on the occasion of the 6th Indo-French CEOs Forum meeting.

The visiting Indian Minister met the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, where they exchanged views on a range of issues and regional and global developments which were of common interest to both the countries.

They also discussed ways to capitalise on the excellent political understanding between India and France to enhance bilateral commercial and economic relations.