Italian delegation to explore bilateral trade

New Delhi, Jan 26 | Updated: Jan 27 2005, 07:10am hrs
A high-level business delegation of the Milan Chamber of Commerce is arriving in New Delhi next month to explore bilateral trade opportunities.

The delegation will visit New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai from February 12-19. The delegation is a part of President Carlo Azeglio Ciampis visit to New Delhi. The President visits India as Rome takes a fresh look at the potential for trade and commercial ties with India, one of the fastest growing economies.

The first Italian head of state to visit India in a decade, Mr Ciampis will hold talks with industry leaders on business opportunities. There is a growing realisation in Italy that India is an important Asian country. The Presidents visit is a reflection of this, said an official in the external affairs ministry.

Italy has taken note of the growing trade ties between India and other European countries and wants to have a share of the large Indian market, having already moved into China and East Europe in a big way.

Bilateral trade has grown rapidly in 2003-04 recording a new high of $2.77 billion, a 28% growth over the previous year, and the first six months of 2004-05 registering a 21% growth.

According to officials, the Italians are said to be particularly impressed with Indias progress in the small and medium industries and see a wide scope for co-operation in this area. They are also interested in food processing, textiles, moving from fabrics to garments, leather garments and shoes, gem and jewellery, besides infrastructure projects like ports, aviation, roads and special economic zones.

The Italian delegation is looking for potential local partners who are importers, distributors, end-users, producers, indenting agents etc. in various sectors.

It may be recalled that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi could not lead the EU delegation to the India-EU summit in New Delhi in 2003 as scheduled due to ill health.

No frills airline Air Deccans decision to buy 15 ATR 72-500 turbo-prop planes at an estimated cost of $240 million, besides leasing 15 more, for its expansion programme has been noted in Italy.