Indo-Italian bilateral trade is expected to double to $17.5 billion in the next five years, FICCI said ahead of the India-Italy Business Forum meetings in New Delhi and Mumbai.

“With deeper business engagement, trade between the two countries is expected to double to in the next five years,” industry chamber FICCI said.

The volume of Indo-Italian bilateral trade was $9.5 billion) in 2008.

An Italian business delegation led by Italian Minister for Economic Development and Foreign Trade Claudio Scajola will be in India for the meeting next week.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is expected to address the meetings in Delhi and Mumbai, FICCI said.

At the Delhi meeting, FICCI in association with Yes Bank will be launching a report titled ‘India-Italy: New Perspectives for Partnership,’ the chamber said.

The report notes that as in any fledging relationship, Indian and Italian companies will face a host of challenges in doing business with one another.

“Apart from the institutional, regulatory and policy challenges, Indian companies will have to contend with the higher operating and workforce costs in Italy, stringent labour regulations, an ageing workforce...,” the report says.

At the Mumbai Business forum, Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata will be awarded the ‘Grand Officer’ rank of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Likewise, Italian companies will face challenges in the selection of a synergetic and strong local partner, legal framework required for land acquisition, rehabilitation and compensation process, and demand-supply mismatch of skilled workers, the FICCI-Yes Bank report says.

However, the report mentions that there is tremendous scope for co-operation between India and Italy on various avenues such as food and energy security, infrastructure and technology transfer

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