New Delhi,31 March :During the bilateral meeting between Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and the visiting Swedish Minister of Foreign Trade, Ms. Ewa Bjorling, here today, Shri Kamal Nath informed that India is seeking active cooperation in the field of higher education. He further
mentioned that India and Sweden have identified complementarities in high-tech areas of IT, biotech, automotive industry and electronics, and that, it is necessary for the two countries to catalyze cooperation in the region by involving industry, academia and local universities. The meeting was attended by Shri Ajay Shankar, Secretary (Industrial Policy & Promotion); Shri G.K. Pillai, Commerce Secretary; senior officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Directorate General of Foreign Trade; representatives from the apex chambers and business communities from both sides.
Both sides discussed about the development of trade and economic relations. While expressing his appreciation for the Swedish government’s desire for enhanced engagement with India, Shri Kamal Nath stated that: “Sweden’s strong interest to deepen and diversify relations with India especially in the area of trade and economic development as also in frontier areas of high technology”.
Shri Kamal Nath expressed satisfaction that based on the recommendations of the High Level Trade Group, both sides have started negotiations for a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement and two rounds of fruitful negotiations have already been held between India and the EU. As regards Indo-Swedish Joint Commission, Shri Kamal Nath stated that he recognises the importance of early holding of 15th meeting of the Joint Commission in 2008.
Underlining India’s liberalized overseas investment norms, Shri Kamal Nath informed that more than 13 Indian IT companies have their offices in Sweden. Wipro, TCS, Infosys, L&T, etc. have bagged important projects in Sweden and some them have their development centres in Sweden and their cumulative exports are estimated at US $ 80 million. A few Indian pharma companies have also formed collaborative relations to establish joint R&D facilities in Sweden.
As regards multilateral trade is concerned, Shri Kamal Nath informed the Swedish Minister that India looks forward to the conclusion of the Doha Round by 2008. “India has been engaging constructively and actively with other fellow Member countries of the WTO towards this end. For India, it is important that the Doha Round negotiations are brought to a successful conclusion. Such a conclusion can only be possible if we are faithful to the mandate and the outcome reflects a clear balance between market opening and the development needs of the majority of the membership. India is ready to show the necessary flexibility to achieve such an outcome but the onus for movement lies largely with the developed countries”, he added.
The bilateral trade between India and Sweden during the year 2006-07 was to the tune of US $ 2322 million, compared to US $ 1498 million in 2005-06. The main export items to Sweden are: readymade garments cotton including accessories, manufactures of metals, cotton yarn, fabrics, made-ups, etc., machinery and instruments and carpet. The major import items from Sweden are: electronic goods, computer software in physical form, machinery except electrical and electronics, gold and iron and steel. Sweden ranks 13th and cumulative FDI inflows (net of ADRs/GDRs) from Sweden is US $ 561.9 million (0.87%), excluding FDI inflows received for acquisition of existing shares (upto 1999), RBI’s-NRI Schemes, stock swapped & advance pending for issue of shares. Top sectors attracting FDI inflows (from January 2000 to October 2007) from Sweden are miscellaneous mechanical & engineering industries (21.27%), electrical equipments (including computer & pharmaceuticals (9.84%), industrial machinery (6.88%) & electronics (5.73%).