Greece offers to boost bilateral trade ahead of India-EU FTA

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Jan 11 | Updated: Jan 12 2008, 05:05am hrs
Greece has offered to boost bilateral trade and investment with India, ahead of the proposed India-EU free trade agreement.

It has proposed to export fruits, vegetables, dairy products including feta cheese, wine, olive oil, masticha, machinery, lubricants, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, packaging and construction materials, processed food and bbeverages, clothing, infomatics and services. Feta cheese and masticha are protected by the European Union as exclusive Greek products.

The visiting Greece Prime Minister, Kostas Karamani while addressing the industry on Friday said : "The target to double the volume of our bilateral trade by 2010 seems attainable and viable." Saying that numerous agreements of economic nature were in place between the two countries, including the recently concluded agreements for protection and promotion of investments and scientific and technological cooperation, Karamani said "priority should now be given to signing of the revised agreement on avoidance of double taxation as well as to the conclusion of the agreement on air transport services."

Karamani is on a four day visit to India with a high level official delegation.

"Shipping is the most dynamic sector of the Greek economy. We wish to encourage the increase of chartering vessels of Greek interests for the carriage of Indian cargoes in worldwide markets," he said.

He invited Indian investment in renewable energy sector and also proposed that a number of Greek companies with technology and expertise in the sector would like to invest in India

Karamani invited Indian investments by presenting his country's strategic position in the rapidly developing southeastern Europe and its relations with the Balkans and the Black Sea region an area of prominent geostrategic importance due to abundance of oil and natural gas. According to the agreement signed by Russia, Bulgaria and Greece in March 2007 for oil pipeline, Greece would emerge as an energy hub, offering new opportunities to entrepreneurs, he said.

He said that Greece has become a financial and banking centre for southeastern Europe connecting eastern Mediterranean and West Asia. He said that the establishment of a direct air link between Greece and India would contribute to the increase of tourist exchanges.

The Indian commerce minister, Kamal Nath said that Indian economy was also growing and both trade and investments have become a two-way traffic. Indian companies have begun investing abroad. He said that India was negotiating for a free trade and investment agreement with European Union which would be the largest trade agreement in the world.