ANTWERP (BELGIUM): Commerce Minister Anand Sharma has called for closer economic engagement between India and Europe.
Addressing the Horasis Global India Business Meeting (GIBM) in the port city of Belgium on Sunday night, Sharma said Europe holds great promise for economic engagement with India, EuAsia News reported.
"Eurozone today is talked more because of the turbulence but it is clearly indicative of the fact that we live in a world where you have to take notice what is happening elsewhere.
"Both India and Europe being great economic partners that we are will find the ways to further deepen and diversify our economic engagement," he said.
The commerce minister noted that there were a large number of Indian entities present in the northern region of Belgium, known as Flanders, and that many Belgian companies are participating in India's economic growth.
"Europe holds great promise and so is for us this country and the city of Antwerp in particular," said Sharma who will be visiting the diamond district of Antwerp Monday.
On his part , Kris Peeters, minister-president, Government of Flanders, said GIBM was "the largest Indian business delegation ever hosted in Belgium."
He said in 2011 the total exports from the Flanders region to India amounted to 7.8 billion euro , an 18 per cent increase from 2010 and 79 per cent increase compared to 2009.
"This makes India our seventh trading partner and the second most important one outside Europe. The Flanders region is responsible for 98 per cent of Belgian exports to India," he said noting that over 80 per cent of Belgian exports to India are made up of diamonds and 43 of Belgian imports from India.
Over 300 business leaders representing multinationals, large corporations, small and medium-scale enterprises and confederations, multilateral and regional institutions from Europe and India are gathered in Antwerp for a two-day meet to boost trade and economic links.
On Monday, the main day of the conference, participants will discuss and debate several topics like EU-India - new partnership, new possibilities, managing success in India , and India's new breed of multinationals.
The GIBM is organised by Horasis and the Flanders government with collaboration of several organisations such as the Europe India Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.