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France to triple investments in India

France says it will aim to triple the number of French companies that have invested in India within the next two years.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2006 16:41 IST

France says it will aim to triple the number of French companies that have invested in India within the next two years.

This announcement was made by Nicolas Forissier, a junior minister in the French government at an India Business Meet held on the sidelines of Salon Internationale de Agroalimentaire (SIAL) — one of the world's largest food shows — in Paris on Tuesday.

"Today, there are about 270 French companies that have invested in India —from any sector of the economy. We would like to multiply this number by three times in the next couple of years and I would like to make sure that there is adequate representation from the French food processing industry in the new investments," Forissier told the gathering.

He said he would visit India twice between now and the end of the year to ensure that the target was met. "I will represent France at the Green Revolution meeting in November and again in December with a large delegation of small and medium enterprises from France for a weeklong visit," Forissier said.

The delegation, to be led by Christine Lagarde, the French trade minister, will have over 250 CEOs.

At the meeting, India's Food Processing Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, who is leading the Indian delegation at SIAL, announced that India would significantly increase its presence at the next fair, slated for 2008.

There are about 30 Indian companies participating in the current SIAL, with basmati rice producers dominating the list. Also present at the fair, which concludes on Thursday, are several producers of ready to eat foods, spices, curries and wines.

Sahay emphasised the need for greater cooperation between France and India in this key sector.

"We are a large agro economy and you have a lot of rich and varied experience in the food processing industry. This experience and the technology is what India needs today in order to optimise the use of its agricultural output," Sahay said.

He said the government had liberalised the sector very largely and that India was seeing large companies taking active interest in the food sector. "There is a lot of interest and a lot of potential for French companies to invest in this and benefit from the booming economy," Sahay said.

Earlier, the two ministers toured the fair and the Indian pavilion. Sahay had also met the senior management of Carrefour, the largest French retailer, which is now eyeing India.