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'Swiss companies keen to invest in India'

Posted on Nov 29, 11:06PM | IANS

Swiss companies are keen about business opportunities in India, a Swiss government official said here Thursday.

"Swiss companies are now not just looking at China. They are looking at Asian and Latin American markets that have high growth potential. They are looking at the growing middle class such as the one in India," Chris Watts, of Swiss government's Trade and Investment Promotion body, told IANS.

According to Watts, Switzerland is the eleventh biggest foreign investor in India and Swiss companies have created about 66,000 jobs in India in the last 10 years.

Currrently around 100 Swiss firms are doing business in India.

"Bilateral trade (between the two countries) is expected to grow 5-10 percent over the one to two years. I expect Swiss exports to grow little faster than Indian exports to Switzerland," he said.

The trade between India and Switzerland stood at around USD 5 billion last year. Indian companies too are showing a lot of interest in investing in Switzerland.

Watts was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised by the Swiss embassy to present Glenmark Pharmaceuticals chairman Glenn Saldanha with the Swiss Ambassador's Award for Exceptional Innovation.

Presenting the award Switzerland's Ambassador to India, Linus von Castelmur said: "Innovation has become the new driving force of Indo-Swiss partnership and Glenmark is a very good case in point. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals was the first Indian life science enterprise to establish a research and development facility outside India in 2006. Glenmark's 3000 sq m state of the art laboratory in La Chaux-de-Fonds employs 60 highly qualified scientists."

Saldanha told media persons present that Glenmark's research work in novel biologics resulted in its signing a landmark agreement with Sanofi of France, which was the first outlicencing deal by an Indian company and the largest deal across emerging markets in the area of novel biologics.