India is seeking to double the quantum of its bilateral trade with Italy to over €10 billion in the next three to four years. This is in the backdrop of an increase in the country's out-bound foreign investment to the European nation.

In a bid to further enhance bilateral trade and investments, the Commerce and Industries Minister, Mr Anand Sharma, is leading a high-level industry delegation to Italy starting Monday.

The industry team, which is led by the FICCI President, Mr Rajan Bharti Mittal, includes CEOs across sectors such as aviation, healthcare, textiles and hospitality.

“We see a great potential to increase bilateral trade,” said Mr Amit Mitra, Secretary-General, FICCI, ahead of the visit. Trade between the two countries, which saw a 13 per cent decline in 2009 due to the recession, has since recovered to grow by a fourth to €5.1 billion in the January-September 2010 period.

The current trade balance is marginally in India's favour, which imports mainly design equipment, machinery and chemicals in areas such as apparel, leather and food processing, among others. India's exports to Italy consist of apparels, refined petroleum products, motor vehicles and steel alloys.

“The delegation is visiting Europe at a time when the European Union seeks to re-configure its business focus in emerging markets like India. We could leverage Italy's design skills and technological edge across sectors such as automotive, engineering and apparel to climb the value chain,” Mr Mitra added.

Italy is India's 22nd largest trade partner globally and the fifth largest in the European Union.