Amidst Britain’s decision to move out of the European Union that raised concerns on how businesses and trade will get impacted, India and Portugal, on Sunday, stressed upon the need to enhance their economic and political ties and to enhance their bilateral trade. Welcoming the resumption of negotiations on India-EU free trade agreement, Augusta Santos Silva, minister of foreign affairs, Portugal, called for conclusion of the same.
While VK Singh, the minister of state for external affairs and overseas Indian affairs, said that Portugal can act as a doorway for India to Europe, Silva said that Portugal can act an entry point for Indian companies looking to do business in EU, Africa and Latin America. He also welcomed the resumption of negotiations on free trade agreement between EU and India and called for completion of the same as soon as the conditions are met.
Speaking at the Horasis India Meeting, hosted by City of Cascais and Confederation of Indian Industries in Cascais, Portugal, Silva said, “Portugal supports the overall endeavour of opposing protectionism and working together in favour of a fair transparent and rule based trade and investment environment. Portugal welcomes the resumption of negotiations on free trade agreement between EU and India. We insist on completion of India – EU FTA as soon as the conditions to do so are met.” He reiterated that he was hopeful that a balanced FTA, based on the mutual liberalisation of trade, investment and business opportunities, would be signed.
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Speaking at event, Singh said, “Portugal can be key to European trade and investment that we want to make and it can be a doorway which can allow us to ensure that the trade with the rest of Europe can take place at the pace and volume we desire.”
While both ministers agreed that trade between the two nations is much below its potential, Silva called upon Indian companies to invest in Portugal as it provides them door to not just European markets but also to African and Latin American markets.
“Portugal is an important door to Africa, Latin America, Portuguese speaking markets and to UK … UK may leave EU but UK will never leave its six century old bilateral alliance with Portugal. So Portugal is a very important link and door for companies looking at cultivating ties with European
Union, British market and looking to widen their reach and ties with African countries,” said Silva adding that his country has emerged out of the “financial crisis” and is now “growing”.
Stating that India is the fastest growing major country and is being considered by many as a bright spot, Singh too called Portuguese investors to India. He said that the Indian government has also been working on “tweaking the system” in order to make it easier to do business in India.
“Given Portugal’s acknowledged competencies in our priority sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy, construction and tourism, I invite Portuguese entrepreneurs to work in these sectors as it will benefit both,” said Singh, highlighting upon the reform and policy initiatives adopted by India. Close to 50 member Indian business delegation including Rahul Bajaj of Bajaj Auto, Naushad Forbes, president CII, Sunil Kant Munjal Jt MD Hero MotoCorp, Shobana Kamineni of Apollo Hospitals and Rakesh Bharti Mittal of Bharti Enterprises among others are in Cascais to attend the two day Horasis India Meeting.