Indo-French trade grows 55 percent in two years


Kolkata : The India-France trade has increased by 55 percent during the past two years, French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont said here Thursday and invited Indian investors to explore opportunities in the French market.

Support TwoCircles

“We have almost increased 55 percent of the total volume of bilateral trade and expecting to double it up in next five years time, focusing investment in agriculture and food processing sector, energy, infrastructure, finance, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and urban development,” Bonnafont told reporters at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

France is considered the fourth largest economic power in the world and a very attractive investment destination worldwide.

In 2007, the economic activity from France to India was worth 3.6 billion euro while the volume of India’s business to France was 2.7 billion euro in the same year.

Bonnafont said India and France need to develop some activities to bolster technology transfer and academic exchange programmes.

“We are shortly going to open a consulate office in Kolkata. We are hoping to start its operation by the end of 2008 with a cultural and education wing and an economic mission activity,” he said.

He said that many French companies are willing to enter sectors like IT, food processing, SMEs and steel in India.

He said Air France, one of the world’s largest airlines, is also increasing its presence in India.

“They have set up a liaison office in Chennai and also conducting a feasibility study in Kolkata before starting operations from here,” he said.

“But I can’t say anything more as Air France is a private company,” the envoy said.

Terming the India-US civil nuclear deal as a win-win situation for the two sides, Bonnafont said: “We are now waiting for the final result to come.

“I can’t comment on the political situation internally. I can’t say if this agreement will affect the sovereignty of the nation. But it will definitely help India to generate non-polluting energy in future,” he said.