New Delhi, August 19, 2020: India and Finland have always enjoyed warm and long-standing bilateral relations. While India is one of the top 5 trade partners for Finland in South and South-East Asia, Finland’s ranking has been consistently progressing amongst India’s EU trade partners.
In 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, Huhtamäki, Metso Outotec, Wärtsilä, 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 US$ 1 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, the Hon’ble 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 Hon’ble Minister for Industry and Commerce and Railways, Mr Piyush Goyal, recently held a virtual interaction with the members of FINCHAM India at its 10th Members Meeting on 14th August, where he shared insights on the vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The Hon’ble Minister emphasised 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.
Emphasising 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, Amit Gossain, Chairperson, FINCHAM India and MD KONE Elevator India stated, “Atmanirbhar Bharat announced by the Hon’ble 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.”
He further added, “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 the 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 specialise more in the areas of comparative advantage and achieve significant quantity expansion.”
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.
Her Excellency, Ambassador of Finland in India, Mrs. Ritva Koukku-Ronde highlighted “the importance of trust, predictability and stable business environment as key elementsin 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.” H.E. the Ambassador added, that “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.”
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.
Speaking on prospective investments from Finland, Dr. Jukka Holappa, Country Manager, Business Finland, and Honorary Board Member, FINCHAM India stated, “We are keenly following the transforming policy landscape which the government is cultivating to attract foreign investment and are hopeful that India can emerge as an attractive destination for innovative Finnish technology companies across sectors.”
Speaking on the potential areas of collaboration between the two countries, M C Suresh Kumar, Vice-Chairperson, FINCHAM India and MD, Cargotec India Pvt. Ltd. also stated,“Finnish companies can contribute significantly towards India’s vision of achieving self-reliance through their expertise in technology, innovation, IT, renewable energy, clean-tech. Many Finnish companies are in the manufacturing sector thereby holding the potential to create employment opportunities in the country.
Given Finland’s ranking as one of the global leaders in higher education systems, FINCHAM India is in the process of launching a program to create a platform to enhance the skills and commercial experience of the educated youth of India and Finland through internships/training programs hosted by the Finnish member companies in India. We are hopeful that the efforts under this program could provide opportunities for collaborations in skill development, and be complimentary to India’s new National Education Policy, 2020.”
Sanjay Malik, CEOof one of the leading Finnish brands, Nokia, also stated, – “As one of the biggest Finnish companies, we’ve truly embraced Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a self-reliant India by harnessing local talent and capabilities, generating employment and empowering people in India. Over 25 years of India mobile telephony, we’ve built an inclusive ecosystem driven by innovation while consistently building a world-class telecom infrastructure in the country. Today, our manufacturing facility in Chennai, R&D hub in Bengaluru and Network Operations Centers in Chennai and Noida are catering to both domestic and the international markets. While Government of India is working towards ease-of-business, we look forward to this effort being intensified through greater collaboration with the industry. Such inclusive policy formulation will further attract international and Finnish businesses to grow their investment and innovation footprint in India.”
Ajey Mehta, Vice President – Corporate Business Development, HMD Global, further stated,“AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ is an inspiring step taken by the honourable Prime Minister towards making India self-reliant. Apart from encouraging local supply chain and manufacturing that’ll bolster India towards development, the step can also create job opportunities, skilling India in a way never done before. India and Finland enjoy close bilateral relations and I believe that Finnish companies with their competence can greatly contribute to this mission. We hope that as we move forward in the journey, the Government of India can continue to have a dialogue with the industry, and enable faster pace of progress.
India is a top focus region for HMD Global and we take great pride in the trust Indian consumers have shown towards Nokia phones. We are well-positioned to bring to consumers immense value from their mobile phone experience. The technology we continue to bring not only empowers Indians towards development and sustainability, but is deeply rooted in India’s mission of self-reliance and digital connectivity.”
Highlighting the potential of contribution by Finnish companies towards India’s vision for a self-reliant economy,Sanjay Aggarwal, Managing Director, Fortum India and Board Member, FINCHAM India, stated,“The Indian economic eco-system has always had a progressive outlook and planned well for both long and short-term goals by diversifying imports and exports, handholding domestic industries and supporting a greener economy. India’s cooperation with Finnish enterprises has been of long-standing, and their innovative technologies have played a part in building resilience and robustness in the Indian economy. Towards this, we should continue to work together in a diversity of sectors and support the country’s agenda of sustainable progress.”
Re-iterating the long-standing commercial relationship between India and Finland, Neeraj Sharma, President & Managing Director, Wärtsilä India and Board Member, FINCHAM India, also stated,“India and Finland enjoy a dynamic commercial relationship with exports and imports showing significant annual gains. Finnish companies are extensively participating in the rapidly growing Indian economy. The Government of India’s vision of self-reliant nation is well-articulated through its initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. Through collaborative opportunities, Finnish companies in India can well support these initiatives.
Testimony to this is Wärtsilä’s state-of-the-art multi-product manufacturing facility in Maharashtra, India which was set-up in 1989.”
Finland Chamber of Commerce in India (FINCHAM India) has been established in 2018 to boost trade of the Finnish companies and to support investment and other business operation of its members in various terms.
FINCHAM India strives to provide an organized platform where Finnish companies in India can discuss and identify common issues and concerns regarding their economic and trade interests. The Chamber also acts as an advocacy forum for promoting interests of members on the policy front. Furthermore, the Chamber aims to help Finnish companies in their corporate affair and social responsibility activities, government relations work, dispute resolution and problem solving.
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