Sixth session of Indo-French CEOs Forum, 8 July 2013
On Monday, 8 July 2013, the President of the French Republic met the participants of the Sixth Indo-French CEOs Forum at the Elysee Palace.
Emphasizing that French investments in India were “substantial”, with more than 13 billion euros and 750 French companies established there, President Hollande expressed France’s resolve “to continue with this strategy of establishing [French companies] in partnership with Indian companies”.
In the presence of the Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, Shri Anand Sharma, and the CEOs of the biggest Indian private companies, the Head of State emphasised his determination to raise our economic partnership to the heights of our close political relations. President Hollande was accompanied by the French ministers of Foreign Affairs, and Industrial Recovery, and the Minister of State for Small- and Medium-Scale Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy.
Along with our privileged partnerships in aeronautics, defence and civilian nuclear energy, President Hollande recalled our resolve to deepen our trade, particularly in the sectors of food processing, urban development, energy, health, infrastructure, electronics, new information technology, transport, and tourism. He underscored the importance we attach to strengthening the place of SMEs and midcap companies in developing our economic exchanges.
The President of the French Republic called for enhancing employment- and activity-generating Indian investments, and outlined the recent measures taken by the government for strengthening the competitiveness and attractiveness of France as a destination and its economic stakeholders.
“We also wish to convince Indian investors to come to France, with the same spirit of sharing, respect and responsibility,” said President Hollande, who had come to India last February on a State visit with a strong economic component.
The establishment of the Governing Board of the Indo-French CEOs Forum is mentioned in the January 2008 Indo-French Joint Statement and forms part of the Indo-French strategic partnership initiated by President Jacques Chirac in Mumbai in 1998. A part of the Board members first met in Paris at the Lafarge Group corporate headquarters in Paris on 26 June 2009. It replaced a former bilateral body that was in charge of developing initiatives in a wide range of areas, such as culture and economy.
The co-chairs of the Forum are Mr Bertrand Collomb (Lafarge) and, since 2012, Mr Dhruv Sawhney (Triveni Engineering & Industries Ltd.). The Board is composed of 27 other French members (chosen by Mr Collomb) and 23 Indian members (proposed by CII and FICCI and decided by the Prime Minister’s Office).
The CEOs Forum usually meets twice a year, alternating between France and India. The sessions are traditionally inaugurated by the ministers of commerce or foreign trade.
As of today, six meetings have been held: June and November 2009, June and December 2010 (Presidential Visit in India), January (Paris) and November (Delhi) 2012. The works of the Forum have dealt with energy, infrastructure, climate change, rural India, education and research, joint investments in both the countries. In November last year, two themes were discussed by the CEOs of the two countries: PPPs and CSR.