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Press Releases, 10/24/2007

Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Nath hopes to see more Finnish companies in India

Press release 215/2007
23 October 2007

Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Kamal Nath and Minister Väyrynen. Photo: Deepak KapoorMinister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen met Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Kamal Nath in Delhi on Tuesday, 23 October. On Tuesday, Väyrynen's programme also included meetings with the ministers of forestry and power. Väyrynen is currently in India on a five-day export promotion visit.

Minister Nath is acting as India's main negotiator in the WTO negotiations, in which India plays a major role. Nath reaffirmed India's commitment to the negotiation round. According to Nath, not enough necessary progress has been made in various areas of negotiations yet, but he believes that progress is possible over the coming months.

The ministers said that the goal is to have the India-EU free trade negotiations completed by the end of the year 2008. Nath underscored that the agreement currently under negotiation covers only trade and commerce issues, whereas human rights and environmental issues should be handled in more comprehensive contexts.

Nath hoped that a greater number of Finnish small and medium-sized companies would take advantage of the growing Indian markets and participate in projects related to infrastructural development in particular. Nath was satisfied with the relations between Finland and India, as well as the regular exchange of visits between the countries.

Minister Väyrynen hoped that Indian companies would increase their investments in Finland. He extended an invitation to visit Finland to Minister Nath.

The Indian economy has been growing rapidly in recent years, at an annual rate of approximately nine per cent. The growing buying power in a country with large population offers plenty of new opportunities to increase trade and investments.

Finland's trade with India is growing even if, at EUR 490 million, the total volume of trade is still quite modest. India accounted for 0.5 per cent of Finland's total exports and 0.3 of imports. According to Minister Väyrynen, the trade figures do not give a real picture of the close trade relations between the countries, but also the investments from Finland to India and from India to Finland have to be taken into account.

Both ministers agreed on the goal that the volume of trade between Finland and India should be doubled within the next four years.

Finnish investments in India have increased in recent years. To date, more than 70 Finnish companies have made investments in India. The purpose of Minister Väyrynen's export promotion visit is to map out, in collaboration with Finnish companies, the business opportunities India has to offer and to present Finnish expertise to Indian authorities and companies. The delegation includes approximately 20 companies and, in addition to Delhi, they also examine the co-operation opportunities in the southern city of Chennai and in Mumbai.

Additional information: Deputy Director General Päivi Luostarinen, Department for the Americas and Asia, tel. +358 40 703 2345, possible interview requests, Press Attaché for the Minister Pirjo-Liisa Heikkilä, tel. +358 40 705 5623



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Updated 10/24/2007

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