WTO Trade Agreements
7 Dec, 2010
India and France have unveiled plans for seven agreements, deals worth nearly $20 billion, including one for setting up nuclear power plants in Maharashtra. The deal amount is almost twice the amount signed during US President Barack Obama's visit.
The major agreements include a pact between French energy major Areva and state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) for the supply of two nuclear reactors and fuel for 25 years. The deal is worth 7 billion euros ($9.3 billion). Areva is also open to the idea of Indian public sector companies investing in its mines, CEO Anne Lauvergeon said. Areva owns Uranium mines in Niger, Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Mongolia, among other countries.
France, the world's second largest producer of nuclear energy after the US, hopes to lead an international revival of the industry, which is expected to benefit from worries about global warming and soaring energy prices. India has a population of 1.2 billion, but gets only a tiny fraction of its electricity from nuclear power. The supporters of the deal are of the opinion that more nuclear plants in India could help reduce global demand for oil and gas while at the same time significantly reducing the country's pollution levels.
Agreements have also been signed by Airbus and Jet Airways to lease aircrafts from Airbus at an estimated cost of about $3.7 billion. French tyre company Michelin signed a deal to invest in a Tamil Nadu factory. Several large deals are in the pipeline including plans to upgrade India's fleet of French-built Mirage aircraft, jointly develop a fighter jet and surface-to-air missiles.
Besides the nuclear power plant deal, deals for intellectual property rights and confidentiality to allow for cooperation in civil nuclear energy are also included. There was also an agreement between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and its French counterpart, Centre National D'etudes Spatiales, for cooperating in the area of earth sciences and combating climate change.
A bilateral agreement for film co-production was also signed between the two countries.
US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have both visited India recently, as world powers look to the booming Asian giant for export opportunities. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are the next world leaders scheduled to visit the country.