India guest of honour at Belgium trade fair

September 15th, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Sep 15 (IANS) About 50 Indian companies are participating in the 63rd annual Accenta International Fair in northern Belgium, showcasing India’s growing trade relations with European countries, EuAsiaNews reported Monday.India is the guest of honour at this year’s fair that opened Saturday at the Flanders Expo grounds in the northern Belgian city of Ghent, some 50 km from capital Brussels. The exhibition will run till Sep 21.

Sheela Bhide, chairman and managing director of the India Trade Promotion Organisation, said the participation of so many exhibitors at the expo demonstrated the growing trade ties between the two countries.

“Trade between India and Belgium has been going on satisfactorily and is worth about 8.3 billion euros today. The main exports from India are gems and jewellery, diamonds, metals, chemicals, electrical equipment and engineering goods. Surprisingly, exports from Belgium to India are more or less the same things,” Bhide said during a reception held at the Indian pavillion over the weekend.

A number of Indian companies are now setting up shop in Belgium and investment is flowing in, she said, adding that India being the fourth largest trader with Belgium outside the EU, “there is a lot of scope for increase in trade between the two countries”.

Belgium has the first place within the EU in terms of exports to India.

Jan de Geest, director of the trade fair, also stressed that “trade between India and Belgium is very important and is growing very fast”.

Referring to India’s increasing trade ties with Europe, Geest said: “One of the most important companies in this region with more than eight to nine thousand employees is the steel factory. It has been taken over by Mittal and is now Accelor-Mittal.”

This fair is a “bringing together of two cultures”, something that is quite important because more and more people in Flanders are now in contact with their Indian counterparts and it is important for them to see how India has evolved over the years as an economic power, he said.

The Flanders Expo offers 40,000 square metres of space to exhibitors and has more than 100,000 visitors each year. Though it is primarily a consumer fair, business-to-business contacts are also made.

An Indian Business Forum will also be organised at the sidelines of the fair Tuesday, at which key players in Indian business like diamond baron Dilip Mehta, the CEO of Rosy Blue, Naresh Goyal, CEO of Jet Airways, and chairman of the Belgium-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Baron Phillipe Vlerick, will speak.

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