European Union sees big potential in trade with Punjab

European Union sees big potential in trade with Punjab

Monday, 28 July 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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Chandigarh: The European Union (EU) considers Punjab a potential market for bilateral trade deals in agricultural products, food items, textiles and electronic equipment, the EU's Indian envoy told the media Monday.

"We have a big Punjabi diaspora in Europe and the demand for Punjabi food items has increased manifold in all the countries of Europe. Punjabi food products are in demand not only among Punjabis in Europe but among Europeans as well," said Danièle Smadja, Ambassador of the European Commission in India.

She said there is an immense scope for business tie ups in diverse areas in Punjab and the European Union is every day exploring new avenues of trade with this flourishing state of India.

Smadja admitted that Indian food suppliers are facing a lot of problems in exporting food products to Europe. This is because Indian exporters have to paste labels on their products in that particular country's local language while in other parts of the world, a label in the English language is enough for exports, she said.

"This is one area where we cannot help as Europeans are very sensitive about their language and about what they are eating. They always prefer picking something that has ingredients and other details that can be easily read," said Smadja.

Every day there is trade and investment of about Euro 200 million between India and the European Union which amounts to over Euro 1.3 billion per week of trade and investment between the two sides, she said.

But still our trade with India is below its actual potential as it accounts for only 2 per cent of overall business of the European Union, Smadja said.

There are 27 member countries in the European Union and 23 languages are spoken all over Europe.

"India holds a key position in the negotiation committee of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Sensing the potential of Indian businessmen, WTO is considering a proposal to allow free movement of Indian businessmen all over Europe," Smadja said.
Source: IANS
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