New Delhi: The EBG Federation, formerly known as European Business Group, launched its 18th Annual Position Paper. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this year event-cum-launch-ceremony was virtually attended by all the principal guests and key speakers on the scheduled date. Mr Raman Sidhu, FCA, CEO, EBG Federation, India, said, “This is the first time that, in addition to the Central Government and the regulators, we will also be reaching out to the State Governments. We will start the dissemination of the Position Paper after its release to all the major states in India. It will start with the 9 states with whom we have already conducted webinars this year, and then we will move on to the other states which have not been covered by us so far but are very important in terms of investment by the European Union corporates, and from those states into the European Union countries. We also are planning, for the first time, to do a virtual release of the Position Paper 2020 in Brussels. We are endeavouring to do this in the end of January 2021 and we will be showcasing the Position Paper to the European Commission, and to all the major Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Europe, as well as to all relevant government departments of the European Countries – this is something that we have never done in the past.”
On the occasion, H.E. François Delhaye, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to India, said, “When we analyse the bilateral trade relations between Belgium and India in 2019, we can see that there has been a decline. Unsurprisingly, this persisted in the first half of 2020. This can largely be contributed to a decline in trade in the diamond sector which has historically been dominating trade relations between both countries. Nevertheless, it is important to note that, despite these recent trends, Belgium has maintained its position in the top 5 of EU importers and exporters of goods from and to India. The economic ties between both nations have remained strong and they provide a solid foundation for further enhancement.”
Talking about the need of diversification of Belgium and India trade flows, he said, “The issue of Brexit, the impact of COVID-19, crisis and changing geopolitical realities, can also push both Belgium and India to look beyond diamonds in their bilateral trade. There is an acknowledgement between both countries for the need of diversification of their trade flows. Promising sectors include pharmaceuticals, textiles, biotechnology, ICT, ports, dredging, construction, railways, electronics, food processing, chemicals, renewable energy and clean tech. These promising sectors offer ample potential to curb the current trend of declining trade relations and pivot it to usher in renewed growth.”
Appreciating the work done by the EBG Federation in compiling the 2020 position paper, H.E. Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark to India, said, “Through extensive structural reforms, India has climbed from 142 to 63 in the World Bank ease of doing business index. This increase of 79 places is an extraordinary achievement. Today there are more than 100 Danish companies present in India. Between them, they employ over 200,000 people directly and provide livelihoods for many many more. Denmark is building a green strategic partnership with India. Denmark will work along with India to address climate change through the reduction of CO2 emissions, while at the same time meet the challenges of accelerating urbanisation. This means, balancing the need for infrastructural improvements with smart and sustainable energy solutions, through the development of a sustainable environmental policy. This cannot be done without the active involvement of industry and I am therefore very pleased to see how deeply involved Danish companies in India are in the green transformation. Danish solutions in the wind, bio energy and water, and logistics industries are in high demand and I am positive that they will contribute significantly to the successful achievement of our joint objectives in this area.”
The Position Paper also says that India Continues to attract high levels of Foreign Direct Investment. “The Government has taken many initiatives in recent years such as relaxing FDI norms across sectors such as defence, PSU oil refineries, telecom, power exchanges, and stock exchanges, among others. According to Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), FDI equity inflow in India stood at US$469.99 billion during April 2000 and March 2020, indicating that Government’s effort to improve ease of doing business and relaxing FDI norms has yield results. FDI equity inflow in India stood at US$49.97 billion in 2019-20. Data for 2019-20 indicates that service sector attracted the highest FDI equity inflow of US$7.85 billion, followed by computer software and hardware at US$7.67 billion, telecommunications sector at US$4.44 billion, and trading at US$4.57 billion,” the paper said.
“During 2019-20, India received the maximum FDI equity inflow from Singapore (US$14.67 billion), followed by Mauritius (US$8.24 billion), Netherlands (US$6.50 billion), USA (US$4.22 billion) and Japan (US$3.22 billion). India will continue to be an attractive emerging market for global partners (GP) investment for the coming 12 months as per a recent market attractiveness survey conducted by Emerging Market Private Equity Association (EMPEA). Annual FDI inflow in the country is expected to rise to US$75 billion over the next five years as per the report by UBS,” paper further said.
EGB areas of activities include — providing European businesses with opportunities to connect with the Indian Government and industry and connecting business at multilateral levels through business and social networking forums. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog and Cabinet Minister; H.E. Hugo Astuto, Ambassador, Delegation of European Union to India; Mr. Tarun Kapoor, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas; and Ms. Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Chief GoI FTA Negotiator, CEO at Price Stabilization Fund Trust and Joint Secretary at Department of Commerce, are expected to grace the occasion. On the other hand, Ms. Rekha Khanna, Director at bioMerieux India and Chairperson at EBG Federation and Mr. Raman Sidhu, CEO, EBG Federation, hosted the event.
The EBG Federation aims to promote Europe as India’s most preferred business partner thus creating an environment that allows European Business to flourish. In this realm, the Position Paper proposes key policy reforms conducive to the business climate which could further increase trade and investments between India and Europe. The Position Paper provides European Commission with views of European businesses operating in India and serves as a base reference document for its bilateral deliberations with the Government of India. The Paper is distributed to stakeholders in the Government of India, the European Commission, and to EU and EFTA Member States.