EU remains India's biggest trading partner: Envoy

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    Brussels, March 21 (IANS) India is optimistic about the European Union (EU) overcoming its financial and economic crises and it remains an important market for Indian companies, the Indian envoy here said.

    Expressing these views at the launch function of a report on Indian companies in Europe here, Indian Ambassador to EU, Dinkar Khullar, said: "EU remains India's largest trading partner despite the situation as it is within Europe."

    "We are also strategic partner with the EU in political and other terms."

    The envoy said the importance of the European market for India derives from its size "and let nobody be fooled that the Euro zone crisis be as it may, Europe remains an economic power house of the world", EuAsiaNews reported.

    The report titled "Indian Companies in the European Union: Reigniting Economic Growth" was released by the Brussels-based Europe India Chamber of Commerce (EICC).

    Showcasing how an increasing number of Indian owned companies contribute to Europe's jobs, growth and export, the report reveals Indian companies have invested 43 billion euro (over $55 billion) from 2003-12 including 14 billion euro in over 500 green field projects in Europe.

    Khullar noted the EU, an economic and political union of 27 member states, and India were currently negotiating a broad-based trade and investment agreement.

    "If and when it materialises it will be the most comprehensive agreement that India would have entered. It is in the last-mile stages right now," he said.

    Khullar, however, conceded because of the economic crisis in Europe there had been a slowdown in Indian investments.

    "My prognosis is that this slowdown is only temporary . Europe will recover. The world needs Europe and India, of course, does too," the Indian envoy remarked.

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