Kamal Nath hails French investment in India's luxury sector
Friday, 30 March 2007, 05:00 Hrs
New Delhi: Hailing the growing collaboration between India and France in the luxury sector over the years, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath inaugurated the second luxury conference in the capital on Friday. At the conference organized by media house Hindustan Times and its newly launched financial daily Mint, Kamal Nath said: "We welcome France's investment in India's luxury sector. India has a large potential in raw materials. Leather, handloom and other fabrics are sourced from India and our aim is to increase the trade that will lead to the creation of more jobs here". Saying the food processing industry needed to be focused upon, he said he would discuss the industry with the French delegation. "We will also be looking at the French small and medium enterprises and are expecting more French delegations to visit India." Terming France and India's trade relations as a "honeymoon", France's Foreign Trade Minister Christine Lagarde said there has been a 37 percent increase in exports from France to India. "The overall trade stands at slightly below five billion euros and there are 400 French companies set up in India," she said. Lagarde said that India was one of the top five countries that France was targeting for investments and exports. "We are looking at encouraging more trade between the two countries by giving tax incentives, bonafide support and co-financing companies in trade fairs. Over 10 luxury houses from France are here today because of the belief and the confidence in the Indian market," she said. On the immigration issue, Lagarde said: "We realized that only two percent of visas were issued to Indians although we were expecting as much as 15 percent. We have decided to relax visa requirements." Over 10 luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Piaget, Salvatore Ferragamo, Hermes, Lancome and Martell, are participating in the two-day conference Friday and Saturday.