Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Feb 18, 2002
Industry & Economy - Foreign Trade
Bengal invites Germany to set up industries
KOLKATA, Feb. 17
WEST Bengal has urged the industry and entrepreneurs in Germany to invest in the State, especially in areas such as information technology (IT), food processing, bio-technology, leather, high-tech engineering goods and services and downstream petrochemical products.
Mr Somnath Chatterjee, Member of Parliament and Chairman of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), has assured senior German diplomats and members of the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) that the premier investment promotion agency in the State "will render all assistance to German entrepreneurs for setting up units here''.
Addressing the annual meeting of IGCC (Eastern Region) here, he said West Bengal was an ideal investment destination in areas such as IT, food processing, bio-technology, leather, high-tech engineering goods and services and downstream petrochemical products.
While the State Government agencies were active facilitators in this regard, real estate prices in the State were cheaper compared with that elsewhere. Besides, the State had a huge pool of technically qualified manpower which was available at competitive rates, he said.
Already, several German companies such as Siemens, Otto India, Lurgi, Gontermann Peiper, Phoenix Yule and International Ferrites, among others, have been associated with West Bengal.
"Please come here and put us to test'', Mr Chatterjee said, adding that a study conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy had ranked West Bengal second in terms of investment projects completed and commissioned in the financial year 2000-2001. In terms of growth rates in per capita income, the State was ranked fourth, next only to Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Heimo Richter, German Ambassador to India, described the bilateral relationship between India and Germany as "intensive''.
According to him, Germany was among the top-five foreign investors in India.
However, there still remained a "huge untapped potential'' in this regard. According to him, for an enhanced bilateral economic relationship, it would be imperative to improve "label India''.
Dr G. Krueger, Director-General of IGCC, spoke at length on the increasing scope of bilateral trade currently at a level of around DM 9.5 billion annually between the two nations.
He informed that IGCC would soon open a "Myanmar desk'' in India to facilitate business with Myanmar.
The Chairman of IGCC, Mr P.M. Narielvala, said the chamber focussed on bridging the gap between potential and reality in trade relations between India and Germany.
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