Finland wants good business with India: Trade minister

September 6th, 2012 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Helsinki, Sep 6 (IANS) Finland is determined to do business with India, especially in areas of clean energy technology, despite the problem of excessive bureaucratic procedures involved in pushing through projects, says the country’s Foreign Trade Minister Alexander Stubb.

“I have heard some murmurs of excessive paper work (in pushing projects through) but we are determined to do business with India,” Stubb told IANS here.

Asked about the prospects and challenges of doing business in India, he said though bilateral trade is increasing, it is important to have a free trade agreement (FTA) between the European Union and India in place.

“We feel that it is important. When it comes to FTA between EU and India, among the issues where negotiations are ongoing are, for example, services and the automotive industry.”

Finnish exports to India totalled 625 million euros ($788.5 million) in 2011 while Indian exports to this Nordic nation stood at 670 million euros ($845.3 million).

Stubb said the EU had not always been fair in trade policies, but Finland seeks a dignified approach to this.

“The EU and the US have not always been practising fair trade. In my former position as foreign minister, I proposed a new approach to foreign policy, notably dignified foreign policy, and this could be applied to trade too,” said Stubb.

The minister also stressed on engaging developing countries in adopting clean energy technology.

“The future of technology is environmentally clean energy. Despite higher costs of clean technology, we need to get the emerging economies into the loop,” Stubb said.

Highlighting how Finnish companies are going more and more the clean technology way, he said: “Neste Oils, which was once known for traditional oils, today makes biofuels. Kemira, once a chemicals manufacturing major, is today majorly into water treatment technology.”

Asked about the Eurozone crisis, Stubb said that instead of contrasting the current situation with the good days of the early 2000s, one should instead compare this with the crisis of the 1990s.

“Some (people) mistakenly attribute this crisis to the rise of new economic blocs like BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) and MIST (Mexico-Indonesia-South Korea-Turkey). But the fact of the matter is that this crisis has arisen out of public sector overspending and the banking crisis. We understand that it has had ripple effects across the global economy,” Stubb told a group of visiting Indian journalists.

He referred to the four-pronged strategy to resolve the crisis. The EU has put in place aid mechanisms and rescue packages for Ireland, Portugal and Greece as well as agreed on recapitalisation on Spanish banks and tighter rules on public spending.

“Now we try to drive down Italian interest rates; and wait for new decisions from the ECB. In the mid-term perspective, we will be building a banking union; and in the long-term perspective we need to aim at growth.”

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