INFOCUS | INDIA-CHINA | INTERVIEW
More exchanges needed to promote trade with China The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) President JR Bangera speaks to ICC on a host of issues relating to trade with China.
What was the focus of this year’s Global Investors Meet (GIM) and how was it different from the meet in 2010? Enthused by the phenomenal success of the Global Investors Meet held in 2010, which attracted massive investments to the tune of over Rs 6 lakh crore, the present government headed by Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda hosted the Global Investors Meet 2012 from June 7 to 8. The event aimed to bring together business leaders, investors, corporations, thought leaders, policy and opinion makers under one roof. Apart from exhibitions and sectoral seminars, one-to-one meetings, B2B meetings and B2G meetings were also organised as part of the global summit. Some of the large corporates whose projects have been approved are Ultratech Cement, GMR, Grasim, NMDC, Luxor Energy, Hindustan Coca Cola, Lanco and KNR Constructions among others, while GVK is now on controlling the stake in the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL). |36| India-China Chronicle July 2012
Which countries participated in the GIM? The government conducted road shows in Singapore, South Africa, Japan and Taiwan and all these countries along with Germany and the US participated in various fields of the global investors meet. What efforts are being made to make Karnataka a global destination for investment? The Karnataka government’s ongoing efforts to highlight investment and growth opportunities throughout the state are getting healthy media coverage. Efforts to promote investment beyond Bangalore are also producing good feedback from the industries. What are the challenges that investors face in Karnataka? The atmosphere is conducive to make investments in Karnataka right now, but the state government needs to keep its promises and deliver them on a time-bound manner. Poor availability of quality power may hamper the implementation of projects if the
state fails to take some remedial measures immediately. GIM in Bangalore also raises doubts over the implementation of these big-ticket investment proposals due to various bottlenecks and lack of infrastructure. The government can do a lot by ensuring the supply of quality power to industries. The proposed industrial corridor between Chennai and Mumbai via Bangalore should be taken up on a priority basis to realise investments into the state. How is China looked at as a potential investor? China can contribute greatly in multiple sectors like automotive, manufacturing, food processing, pharma, telecom and largely the agro sectors. Have there been any initiatives taken to promote GIM in China? I don’t think the government of Karnataka has seriously tried to promote GIM in China maybe due to the lack of networking with Chinese bureaucrats and trade bodies! What is the status of the IT industry in GIM? Karnataka is the leading IT hub of the country and Bangalore is the
fourth largest technological cluster in the world after Silicon Valley, Boston and London. With a third of India’s software technology park units, the state is the country’s largest software technology hub. Over 2100 IT companies constitute over 20% of the IT companies in the country India’s largest software exporter. What is the scope of other technology sectors like biotechnology/green technology in India and more specifically Karnataka? Karnataka is a leader in the biotechnology, information technology, aviation, machine tools, textiles, floriculture, coffee, horticulture, fisheries and silk sectors. Karnataka is the base for 87 Fortune 500 companies and 700 multi-nationals. Karnataka was the first to have an industrial policy, tourism policy and state facilitation policy. The progressive initiatives of IT Policy, BPO Policy, and Biotech Policy have attracted many organizations to set up office in the state and hence it has become a major Hub. What are the trade relations with China regarding the IT industry? Trade relations with China are always driven by the Union government and the same policies are applicable in Karnataka state too. India has a lot of scope when it comes to exporting IT industry products to China. What has been done to tap the Chinese market? Indian exports to China are an integral part of the bilateral trade relations between the two Asian countries. Indian exports to China focus on mainly primary products. In 1984, India and China signed a trade agreement, providing for the Most Favoured Nation treatment to foster greater cooperation between each other. There exists a steady demand for IT products in the Chinese market. In order to increase the level of Indian exports to China, there should be a continuous interaction through exchange of delegations, enhancing participation in each other’s trade fairs
and seminars and facilitating trade through positive initiatives. Is there any government policy that helps in trade between India and China specific to the IT industry? As I said earlier that trade policies of Karnataka is no different from Union government policies and always driven by the policies of Union government. What do you think is the feasibility of having an FTA with China in regard to trade in software? It’s a very difficult question to answer as these FTA is between two nations and not between a nation and a province. What are the challenges that IT co’s face when trading with China and how can these be overcome? India now stands out as a globally recognizable brand in the IT business sector. However, in the cloud of current global economic crisis the sea is not yet calm. In the wake of another recession winding down in global markets, Indian IT service providers are now cautiously optimistic as they take on the challenges the Indian IT industry is presently confronted with. However, identifying and addressing the challenges at the right moment can reduce its impact significantly. IT experts are analysing the impending challenges for the Indian IT sector as another recession is now looming
around the global economy. Combined efforts from IT top-level management, government, educational institutions etc can help India sail safely to a position of being the world’s leading IT destination. How, do you think trade can be promoted with China? There should be continuous interaction through exchange of business and cultural delegations, enhancing participation in each other’s trade fairs and seminars and facilitating trade through positive initiatives. What are the other potential industrial sectors in which Karnataka can collaborate with China? Karnataka can collaborate in many areas, particularly in steel, engineering, agriculture and bio–similar; Areas like automotive, electronics, processed food are also equally important. ICEC is an organization that helps in bridging the gap between India and China. How according to you can this organization help to promote trade between the two economic giants, specifically in terms of technology. We are already in the process of taking a business delegation to China. We are very sure that the government of Karnataka will extend political clearance. FKCCI will be glad to sign MoUs with various trade bodies of China. There is great opportunity to improve bilateral trade and cultural relations. July 2012 India-China Chronicle |37|