By Hashir Mohammed Khaled, Kolkata, Feb 14 IBNS | 6 months ago

Ambassador of the Netherlands Alphonsus Stoelinga on Wednesday interacted with the Indian traders and showed his willingness to join hands in order to ameliorate trade relationship between India and the Netherlands on his maiden visit here at the Bengal Club.


Nayantara Pal Choudhuri, Executive Committee Member of Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) started the program by recapitulating about ICC to the Dutch Ambassador.

She said, "Indian Chamber of Commerce is the premier body of business and industry in Eastern and North - Eastern region of India."

"The membership of Chamber comprises several of the largest corporate groups in the country where the business is operated throughout the country as well as abroad," Choudhuri added.

She said, "The ICC largely focuses on improving and increasing business opportunities in Agro and Food Sector since last few decades."

Giving first thought to the importance of the Agriculture Sector in the Eastern region, ICC has formed a forum which includes stakeholder in the Agro sector for improving growth and development.

Apart from this, ICC too has been working effectively with the West Bengal government and the India government by taking various initiatives for the betterment of the Agricultural Community of India as a whole.

Trade and investment cooperation is a key component of India - Netherland economic engagement.

Two way trade has grown steadily between the two countries, crossing the 1 billion euro mark for the first time in the year 1997 and now stands at euro 6.38 billion.

Netherland remains among the top 10 partners of India in terms of volume of bilateral trade.

Presently, there are 174 Indian companies based in the Netherlands.

Speaking on trade, Namit Shah, Consul of the Netherland in Kolkata said, "India 's trading relationship with Netherland is since more than 5 decades, which is a good sign. Hundred large Dutch companies operate in India, which includes the name of DHV, Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever and Philips.

Shah added, "India sees Netherland as a gateway to dominate its investment along with its trade in Europe."

"The government of both countries was extremely supportive over the last few years, sign agreements and launching new areas for expanding the trade," Shah added.

Apart from Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra; Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has also joined the trade list with the Netherlands.

"Agro food processing, packaging, textiles, horticulture and river transport, water technology and design could be the area of common interest in the states," Namit Shah said.

On the other hands, the Netherland has a mature and slow moving economy.

The Netherlands has substantial capital resources, seeking secure and rewarding avenues for investing India's need such as resource on reasonable terms for rapid development of its infrastructure and economic development.

The Netherlands is specialized in dredging, logistic port management, water management, Agro processing and several other fields which can be of great benefit to India.

India on the other hand can prove their worth by providing the Dutch, highly skilled and reasonably priced manpower for research and development.

It is a credit for India, as Netherland government is planning to set up one Centre of Excellence in West Bengal for agriculture, horticulture, meat processing, food processing and floriculture.

These areas are such where India needs a strategic relationship with Dutch companies, which can add value at affordable costs for the food processing industry.

India is also looking forward for development in post harvest system for potato and cold chain infrastructure.

The Netherlands ambassador said, "Taking emphasize on agriculture, the Dutch started its trade a year ago in Gujarat, Coromandel Coast and Kerala. The Dutch traded India textile throughout Asia, this was the First phase of India and Netherland relationship.

Alphonsus Stoelinga said, "The second phase was in the year 1947 during British rule both Dutch and Indian government decided to launch development corporation and partnership and this partnership expanded in the year 1990."

"In 2000, we stopped trading, because India had become much financially rich, this was the end of the second phase," Stoelinga added.

"The third phase, again started between India and Dutch relations with large Dutch companies investing heavily on companies like Tata Steel and Apollo tyres," he said.

He noted, "The Dutch company started to set up in India in the year 2000. One of the biggest financial sector, of Shell Company located in Chennai has 15,000 accountants."

Since 1947 relationship between India and The Netherland has been terrific and vibrant, marked by strong economic and commercial ties.

The relationship became more intensified after India's economic liberalization in the year 1990 with growing recognition of India as an attractive trade and investment partner.

(Posted on 14-02-2014)