India and Finland have always enjoyed warm and long-standing bilateral relations. While India is one of the top five trade partners for Finland in South and South-East Asia, Finland's ranking has been consistently progressing amongst India's EU trade partners.
At the beginning of the millennium, there were around 30 Finnish companies operating in the country whereas today over 120 Finnish companies have operations in India, and set up manufacturing facilities, service centres, R & D centres, sales, and marketing offices, generating employment for lakhs of local Indians.
Some of the top Finnish enterprises in India include Nokia, KONE, Huhtamaki, Metso Outotec, Wartsila, Cargotec, Konecranes, Fortum, and many more.
Over the years, several Indian software and consultancy companies such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Motherson Sumi Systems, Mahindra, have invested in active operations in Finland to the tune of more than USD one billion.
As the ongoing pandemic exposed vulnerabilities/fault-lines in the value chain systems for most countries significantly impacting trade and commerce, and national economies, India, like most countries, introduced policies and reforms.
The aim of these reforms is to position the country as a global manufacturing hub, foster innovation, enhance skill development, and foreign investments.
Re-iterating this message during his address to the nation on the occasion of India's 74th Independence Day, Prime Minister spoke on the need to transition from a supplier of raw materials and importer of finished goods to an importer of raw materials and exporter of value-added goods. He further laid emphasis on shifting the focus from 'Make in India' to 'Make for World'.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce and Railways, Piyush Goyal, recently held a virtual interaction with the members of FINCHAM India at its 10th Members Meeting on August 14th, where he shared insights on the vision of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.
The Minister emphasized that the national agenda is aimed at driving India's economic engagement with the world and seeks to open wider doors for new technology, high-quality products, boosting manufacturing and energy sectors, and sustainability.
Towards this, the Finnish business community in India is willing to collaboratively develop capacities with their expertise in sophisticated and innovative technologies, and contribute to the overall infrastructure development, and look forward to a predictable and stable regulatory environment which would not only protect existing investments but boost fresh investment and expansion plans.
"Atmanirbhar Bharat announced by the Prime Minister of India is a significant step and can offer many opportunities for the Finnish enterprises to grow and expand investments in India. The current environment for international trade provides huge opportunities to India to make high-quality products thus creating unparalleled job opportunities in India as well as helping the global economies through these cost-effective world-class products. We are optimistic that the Government of India will bring about necessary policy changes and reforms to advance its vision for a 'Self-reliant' Indian economy and offer suitable platforms for stakeholder consultation with industry associations such as FINCHAM India," stated Amit Gossain, Chairperson, FINCHAM India and MD KONE Elevator India emphasizing on assembling in India for the world to boost exports and generate jobs, as the time necessary for the logistical processes of exporting and importing goods has been significantly reduced.
"India's impressive progression in the Ease of Doing Business rankings over the past few years is a tremendous achievement, especially for an economy that is as large and complex as India's. The latest reforms are in doing business areas of starting a business, taxation, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency. For India to become a major exporter of the world, we should specialize more in the areas of comparative advantage and achieve significant quantity expansion," he added.
KONE has been making in India since 1984, and in November last year, KONE's new state-of-the-art elevator manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu, the largest in this region was inaugurated.
This unit aims at leveraging digitalization opportunities and speeding up development in a changing business environment.
"The importance of trust, predictability, and stable business environment as key elements in facilitating sustainable trade & investment cooperation and enhancing economic growth. In this regard, an Investment Protection Treaty between EU and India would be an important element, as is also the need for constant and constructive dialogue bilaterally, between EU and India and within multilateral platforms, especially at the WTO," highlighted Ritva Koukku-Ronde, Ambassador of Finland in India.
"Finland is committed and keen on developing trade & investment and commercial & industry cooperation with India based on mutual interests, shared principles and with view on sustainability and responsibility. Added focus also on technology and innovation, skills, education and science and towards ambitious and binding climate and environment targets, there is an enormous potential for increased Finland-India collaboration," added the Ambassador.
While the national need is to ensure self-sustaining and self-generating growth with an emphasis on efficiency, equity and resilience, developing a regulatory and policy framework which supports the objective of merging domestic production and consumption with global supply chains without being self-contained or being closed to the world, would be complimentary.
India is focused on developing capacities across key sectors, inter alia, using advanced and innovative technologies, and improving it's positioning as a preferred destination for foreign investments in the region.
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