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Indo-Japan chamber plans to foster tie-ups between SMEs

Our Bureau

Chennai , Nov. 12

THE Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry plans to foster relationship between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India and Japan, as it feels that there is enormous scope for improving ties between SMEs in the two countries.

As a first step, the chamber has constituted a team that will vet proposals for tie-ups from SMEs in India with their counterparts in Japan. The team comprises a financial consultant, a legal consultant, a technocrat and a senior administrator, according to Mr N. Krishnaswami, Secretary-General, Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The four-member team will examine all the proposals the chamber receives from SMEs and find out the ones that are worthwhile of being followed up.

Mr Krishnaswami will also be meeting with the chambers of commerce in Japan to examine scope for improving relationships. In particular, he feels that there is scope in sectors such as automobile components, electronics, IT hardware, textiles and garments, leather, biotechnology and food processing.

Since its transformation from Indo-Japan Centre to a Chamber of Commerce in March 2004, the chamber has increasingly focussed on improving trade ties between the two countries. Initially, the chamber, headquartered in Chennai, is concentrating on the southern States and has opened a chapter in Bangalore. It is in contact with the governments in these States and also with various chambers of commerce, according to Mr Krishnaswami. At a later date, the chamber will expand its activities to other parts of the country.

He feels there is scope for more Japanese companies investing in India, either on their own or through joint ventures. Despite 14 years of recession, there is a surfeit of investible funds in Japan, he said and added that efforts need to be made to draw Japanese companies to come out and invest in India. Currently, there are 183 Japanese companies in India, either on their own or through joint ventures.

One proposal that the chamber proposes to seriously follow up here is to set up a model industrial township with expertise from Japan, an idea that was mooted a few years ago. The Haryana Government had then even announced that it would set up the township but the move did not bear fruit.

Mr Krishnaswami feels that a step to attracting Japanese investments would be to understand their culture and the decision-making process. In this connection, he feels that knowing the language will be of a great help. Among its activities, the chamber conducts Japanese language classes with about 400 persons taking coaching every year, including executives from some companies. The chamber also offers a distance-learning programme.

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