New Delhi: François Delattre, Secretary-General, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, is on an official
visit to India. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla held bilateral talks with the Secretary-General here on Tuesday, Dec 21.
"To tap the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations, both sides reiterated their commitment to restarting negotiations on the India-EU Free Trade Agreement," an MEA release said.
India’s trade with France has witnessed a steady rise in the last decade reaching USD 10.75 billion in 2020. "Despite the pandemic, it is estimated that bilateral trade between the two countries in 2021 has reached USD 8.85 billion".
The visit of the French dignitary comes on the heels of the Annual Defence Dialogue held on Dec 17, 2021 in New Delhi between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Ms Florence Parly, French Minister for Armed Forces.
The MEA statement says, "France has emerged as a major source of FDI for India with more than 1,000 French establishments already present in India".
In fact, France is the 11th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative investment of USD 9.86 billion from April 2000 to June 2021 which represents 1.80% of the total FDI inflows into India.
Most big French groups have their subsidiaries in India such as BNP Paribas, Capgemini, Airbus, Dassault, Arkema, L’Oréal, Sanofi, Total, etc.
There are around 200 subsidiaries of Indian businesses established in France, which employ more than 6,000 people. Among Indian investments in France, the majority are in IT services, pharmaceuticals/biotechnologies and hospitality sectors.
Reaffirming their shared commitment to a multipolar world and faith in multilateralism, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary-General also held discussions on a number of regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Both sides also dealt on issues for cooperation in the European Union in view of the forthcoming French Presidency, Indo-Pacific, UNSC, the situation in Afghanistan, among others, the release said. The French Secretary-General also met External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.
"Good discussions on our bilateral cooperation, Indo-Pacific and global developments," Dr Jaishankar tweeted later. The visiting Secretary-General of France will also visit Mumbai.