European and Oceania countries are major trading partners and major sources of investments for India and there is huge untapped potential that can be achieved. India has made efforts in the recent past to take economic ties to the next level and have some sort of broad based comprehensive trade agreement. There is a need to take these efforts to a logical conclusion. This was stated by Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan, at an interactive session on trade and economic cooperation with Ambassadors and High Commissioners of European and Oceania countries in New Delhi last evening.
Dr. Anup Wadhawan said like most trade negotiations between developing and developed countries, trade negotiations with EU and Oceania have been protracted. India is a developing country and EU and Oceania countries are predominantly developed and because of this our ambitions, aspirations and sensitivities are at divergence in some specific areas. He expressed the hope that India, European Union and Oceania countries will be able to overcome those issues and in the near future come to an understanding and reach some sort of formal agreement. It is important to remain engaged at every level – government, export and trade and investment related institutions, exporters and businesses to understand the opportunities available in India, EU and Oceania for business, exporters and importers, Dr. Wadhawan added. He also emphasized on the need to appreciate each other’s constraints and try to find a way forward which is doable for all stakeholders.
Bilateral trade between India and Europe crossed the USD 150 billion mark in 2011-12. Global slowdown and commodity price fluctuations adversely impacted the trade, but there are signs of recovery in the recent period. During 2017-18, India’s trade with Europe stood at USD 130.1 billion, with both exports and imports registering double digit growth.
India is the fifth largest export market for Australia, with coal, education –related travel, vegetable and gold being some of the major items of imports by India. Major exports from India to Australia include refined petroleum, business services and pharmaceuticals. New Zealand is also an important market for India in the Oceania region, especially for its exports of pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, machinery and textiles and apparel.
The extent of investment linkages is evident from the fact that nearly one-fourth of FDI inflows into India are from Europe and around 29.8 percent of India’s overseas direct investments and directed towards Europe.
Nearly, USD 1034.2 million was invested by companies from Oceania in the Indian market during April 2000 to December 2018. The Oceania region also accounts for nearly 1.7 percent of India’s overseas FDI, with Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu being the key investment destinations.