Tuesday, April 16, 2024

India-Netherlands partnership: Opportunities for business and investment

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Diplomat Magazine
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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

On December 1st, Dutch and India representatives from both the government and the business sector gathered to celebrate India’s decision to invite the Netherlands as a guest country in the upcoming G20, which New Delhi will preside. The gathering was an important occasion to promote business and investment relations between the two countries.

On December 1st, 2022, India officially inaugurated its Presidency of the G20, a group of powerful countries that together represent around 85% of the world’s GDP, over 75% of global trade, and about two-thirds of the world’s population. In its role as G20 President, the Indian government decided to invite the Netherlands as a guest country – a proof of the strong political and economic partnership enjoyed by the two countries. To celebrate this occasion – as well as to further stimulate bilateral economic ties – the Embassy of India in the Netherlands organized a symposium on business and investment opportunities between the two countries.

The event took place on December 1st at Leonardo Royal Hotel in The Hague, and saw the participation of around 125 guests. The Indian Embassy was represented by H.E. Ambassador Reenat Sandhu. In addition, Ms. Ravneet Mann – Vice-President of Invest India, the agency in charge of promoting investment in the country – also flew all the way from New Delhi in order to attend the event. While the majority of the Dutch guests were business representatives, the symposium also featured the presence of representatives of the Dutch government.

Audience during the India-Netherlands symposium on business and investment opportunities.

The event started with opening remarks from Ambassador Sandhu, who voiced her government’s priority for the forthcoming G20 Presidency. “India is taking charge of the G-20 at a time when we are witnessing geopolitical tensions and experiencing economic uncertainty, rising food and energy prices, supply chain disruptions and ill effects of the pandemic. In this challenging time, the world is looking at the G20 with hope. Prime Minister Modi has emphasised that India’s G20 Presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented. The theme of our G20 Presidency, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, symbolizes hope and our goal to bring the world together for global good.”

The Ambassador went on to explain the specific priorities that India plans to adopt during its Presidency, reflecting on the synergies that these priorities create with bilateral cooperation efforts between her country and the Netherlands. “Sustainable lifestyles, circular economy, accelerating SDGs, food security, digital heath, energy transition, use of digital technology for development and inclusion, women led development, start-ups & innovation will be among the top priorities of India’s G20 Presidency. It is interesting that these themes also resonate in our bilateral agenda of cooperation. India and the Netherlands have identified Water, Agriculture & Health, as three priority sectors of our cooperation” – the Ambassador explained, laying out some of the specific bilateral cooperation efforts ongoing in these domains.

Ambassador Sandhu, at the business event focusing on opportunities for trade and investment in India.

Ambassador Sandhu also praised India’s economic potential and the opportunities that the country’s economy offers for Dutch businesses. “Today, India is working at more speed and scale than ever before. India is now the 5th largest economy in the world with a large talented pool of skilled manpower.

The ease of doing business in India has vastly improved. A massive push is being given to infrastructure development and to creating an efficient logistics network. Our ‘Make in India’ programme also aims to ‘Make for the World’ and presents ample opportunities for investment and joint ventures for Dutch companies.”

Ms Ravneet Mann, Vice President, Invest India speaking on the Indian growth story and the opportunities for partnership.

The Ambassador’s contribution was followed by that of Ravneet Mann, who explained some of the initiatives undertaken by the Indian government to promote trade, investment and a business friendly environment. Invest India’s Vice-President also laid out some of the opportunities for investing in India, and invited Dutch companies to invest in the country.

This contribution was compounded by those of representatives from different Dutch ministries (specifically those of economic affairs and climate policy, infrastructure and water management, foreign affairs, and agriculture), as well as by speakers from the private sector (representing Royal Philips and Poonawalla Science Park). The speakers praised the current state of cooperation between India and the Netherlands, reflecting on existing opportunities to further strengthen this partnership.

Mr. Michiel Sweers, Deputy Director-General for Enterprise & Innovation at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy speaking on bilateral cooperation in the area of technology and innovation.

Overall, the event celebrated and cemented the solid bilateral economic ties enjoyed by the two countries. The Netherlands is now India’s 4th largest trading partner in Europe, with total bilateral trade exceeding USD 17 billion in 2021-22. The Netherlands is also the largest export destination for Indian goods in Europe, and in 2022 it has become the 3rd largest export destination for Indian goods in the whole world.

Investment ties are also very strong: the Netherlands is the 4th largest investor in India, with USD 42 billion worth of investments, while also being the 4th largest destination for Indian overseas direct investment (ODI), worth USD 22 billion. More than 350 Indian companies have a presence in the Netherlands, and a similar number of Dutch companies are present in India.

After this fruitful event, this number is likely to increase further.

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