Staff Reporter

They will be one-stop centre for information on companies, regulations

CHENNAI: An investment facilitation desk (IFD) each in New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to promote greater trade and investment between European Union and India has been established under a Euro 13.35 million joint programme.

The process for setting up a similar facility in Kolkata has been initiated, leaders of the EU-India Trade and Investment Development Programme (EU-India TIDP) told a workshop here on Friday. The two-year programme, with an overwhelming funding from EU, was launched in December last.

Addressing the workshop on the role of the programme in promoting foreign direct investment, its adviser A. Sahasranaman said the EU's share in FDI made in India during the last 15 years was just 13 per cent. In terms of the percentage of the total EU FDI globally, this translated into a mere 0.02 per cent, highlighting the potential for further growth.

Cause for worry

While there were several factors that could attract more FDI from EU into India such as robust economic growth and the large domestic market in the country, what was of concern to the EU business was the quality of export, especially food and agricultural products. The joint programme proposed to tackle such issues, including the lack of reliable information on policy, procedural delay in clearance of proposals and customs clearance of import/export products.

Given that only the large EU countries such as Germany, the UK and Holland were among the major foreign direct investors in India, the programme would strive to enhance trade and investment between the country and other EU members.

Some of the programme components were measures to deal with quality issues, setting up of the IFDs to disseminate more information, strengthening of a trade portal of India Trade Promotion Organisation, training Customs officials and overall technical assistance, including on issues concerning Intellectual Property Rights.

Networking with agencies

Noting that the IFDs were not to compete with other investment promotion agencies, Team leader of the EU-India IFDs Narayan Valluri said their role would be as a one-stop information centre on companies, regulations and clearance at different levels and for providing facilitative advisory services.

It would also help in networking with relevant domestic and overseas agencies in the EU for enhancing trade and investment.

The Chief Programme Coordinator of the TIDP underscored the need for measures to increase the flow of information about India into the EU, especially about the regulations in the State Governments, and vice-versa.