03 11 Bba Newsletter


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03 11 Bba Newsletter

  1. 1. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 No. BBA/1/2003 19th November 2003 NEWSLETTER 1 Dear Members, As one of the new activities of the BBA, we intend to start up a Newsletter for electronic distribution (it will also be available on the website of the Belgian Embassy in Delhi: www.diplomatie.be/newdelhi). The purpose of our Newsletter will be to collect and disseminate interesting news regarding Belgium and India, not always limited to the business arena. We will welcome your contributions. These could include information about your company or your activities, or general items which you would like to share in the social, cultural, business or any other field. In this Newsletter, our first one, we bring to you an introduction by HE Mr. Patrick De Beyter, Ambassador of Belgium in India, and a number of interesting articles contributed by Mr. Jean- Louis Van Belle and Mr. Philippe Falisse (Embassy of Belgium), and by Mr. Peter Verplancken and Mr. Eric Santkin, the Trade Commissioners for Export Flanders and AWEX respectively. I would like to thank all of them for having contributed to the Newsletter, thereby giving it a flying start. I would also like to take this opportunity to inform you about the next event of the BBA. We are happy to inform you that Mr. Tarun Das, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), has agreed to meet with our members and give a presentation on ‘Business opportunities in India: today and tomorrow’. This would be organized over a luncheon-meeting on Tuesday, 9th December 2004. A separate mailer, with more details and registration information will follow. In the meanwhile, we kindly request you to block this date in your calender. I am looking forward to meeting all of you again at that occasion. With warm regards, For the BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION RAKESH VOHRA President Page 1 of 20
  2. 2. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 Introduction by HE Mr. Patrick DE BEYTER, the Ambassador of Belgium in Delhi Dear Members and Friends, I am very pleased to have been offered the opportunity to write an introduction to this first newsletter of the Belgian Business Association, as it allows me to address a significant part of what I consider to be one of the most important constituencies for our Embassy: the Indo- Belgium business community. Since I have arrived here in Delhi, some two months ago now, I have already personally met with many of you. It only strengthened my conviction that an Association such as the BBA is indispensable to pool some of the creativity and energy that has made your ventures in Belgium or India work, in order to strengthen the bilateral relations between our two countries. Both of our countries can look back to a long-standing history of good relations and productive co-operation, the first detailed records of which go back as far as 1723. Mr. Philippe Falisse, Counsellor at the Embassy, explores one side of this, the extraordinary history of Belgium and the Belgians in India, in his contribution to this newsletter. As for the present, the Trade Commissioners at the Embassy, Mr. Peter Verplancken and Mr. Eric Santkin, have made a thorough analysis of the contemporary state of our bilateral economic and commercial relations that you will find in this newsletter too. Based on this analysis, I have the impression we can look forward to the future with a lot of optimism. Indeed, since July 1991, when India opened up its economy, bilateral trade and investment volumes have consistently expanded at double-digit growth rates. They should continue to do so, as Belgian exporters and investors are clearly aware of the fact that Asia has been the fastest-growing region in the last decade, and that – within this region – India is clearly one of the three out-performers, as evidenced by the latest statistics on GDP growth, exports and imports, as well as FDI inflows. At the same time, more and more Indian companies also seem to discover the potential of Belgium, not only in its own right, as a 250 billion USD economy, but also as gateway to Europe. Page 2 of 20
  3. 3. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 However, in order to realize this and other potentials, many possibilities still exist and, in my view, the Belgian Business Association has to play a key role in this regard, • by mobilizing people around regular events in Delhi that allow personal contacts and discussions with key decision makers, be they Indian or Belgian; • by disseminating information of various kinds, including information on EU events and programs that may benefit Indo-Belgian ventures and companies (in this regard, please see the contribution of my deputy, Mr. Jean Louis Van Belle, to this newsletter), and finally; • by providing a platform to reach out to investors and traders who are not present on the market yet, but who are interested in exploring the opportunities. I welcome this newsletter as a first key step to kick-start this process, and so I hope many more will follow. Finally, I would like to thank the Executive Committee for its commitment. I truly hope we can all make this happen, and I hope to see you in great numbers for the first BBA event since my arrival, the luncheon-conference on Tuesday 9 December with Mr. Tarun Das, the Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). Patrick De Beyter Ambassador of Belgium Page 3 of 20
  4. 4. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 Upcoming EU events and EU programmes I. Upcoming EU events The main event in the near future is the EU-India Summit Meeting on 28 and 29 November between the Indian Government and the entire EU leadership, including Italian Prime Minister and current EU President Silvio Berlusconi, as well as Council Secretary-General Xavier Solana, President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, and Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten. Key objectives of the Summit should be: • The finalization and approval of the EU-India Trade and Investment Development Programme (discussed below) • A customs cooperation agreement • An agreement, or at least an understanding, between the EU and India on co- operation in space Some of the specific ideas that are being explored in this regard include the possible participation of India in the Galileo programme, as well as the creation of an EU-India Space Centre. • A new economic and development cooperation programme for the coming years (2004-2006) The details of this programme have been worked out in the so-called NIP (National Indicative Program) as well as the so-called CSP (Country Strategy Paper) for India, that can be found on the website of the Delegation of the European Commission in Delhi (www.delind.cec.eu.int). One may want to check if there’s nothing in it for Indo-Belgian companies. • A strategy to make more use of the funds available under the EU Framework Programme for RTD (discussed below) as well as measures to convert the EU-India Science & Technology Agreement that entered into force in October 2002 into realities on the (Indian) ground • A new EU-India scholarship program • Probably, also a new agreement on intensifying cultural cooperation A EU-India Business Summit will be organized in parallel with the political Summit. I hope that key members of the Indo-Belgian business community here, including the BBA members, will also participate. From the Italian side, for instance, more than 100 businessmen will be present there! For more information on the Business Summit: please check out the website of CII (www.ciionline.org). Participation fees have been kept very reasonable (5000 INR for large companies, 3500 INR for SMEs). Page 4 of 20
  5. 5. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 It’s always interesting to link up with EU events, as there are usually always some higher and lower level EU officers around, who have the latest details on EU projects and programmes that may benefit Indo-Belgian companies and joint ventures too. II. Current EU Programmes Indo-Belgian trade and investment relations could and should be widened and deepened by using EU funds that are earmarked to exactly do that. What follows, is a brief overview of the available programmes: THE 6TH EU FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT (FP6) The FP6 programme is a 17,5 billion € programme for the 2002-2006 period aimed at strengthening the scientific and technological bases of the European industry. As one would expect, not only non-profit R&D organizations, but also companies are one of the main target groups of FP6, in particular SMEs. In fact, not less than 15% of the total budget has been strictly reserved for research activities of SMEs. This funding also includes funding for mobility and training actions, and these are areas that are clearly very interesting for both SMEs as well as larger companies. Of course, 17,5 billion € is a huge amount of money, and a number of budget lines concern intra-EU activities only. However, quite a big chunk of it has been set aside for inter-regional co- operation between companies and/or non-profit organizations, so the kind of cooperation of which we would actually like to see more in Indo-Belgian relations. For instance, within the thematic priorities (the list of which is fairly long, so not very restrictive), 285 million € has been reserved for ‘international cooperation.’ In addition, there is an additional budget line of 315 million € for actions ‘in support of’ of international cooperation, which allows a lot of room for manoeuvring. On top of that, there are also funds available just to increase the mobility of researchers in general. Another fairly interesting point to note is that the Commission is actively looking for more independent evaluators of the proposals: a Commission representative who came over here recently encouraged Indian individuals and organizations to get involved in that regard. As indicated above, companies are really a key target group of the program, and the participation criteria aren’t that restrictive. Of course, projects have to be transnational, so only a consortium of partners can introduce proposals, but you don’t need that many partners: a consortium of 3 SMEs, from two different countries only, can already apply for funding. The systems works through very regular calls for proposals that are published on the website (http://www.cordis.lu/fp6). The website is huge, but it’s definitely worth the surf. Page 5 of 20
  6. 6. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 EC-INDIA TRADE AND INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (TIDP) The EC-India TIDP is a 14,1 million € programme for 2004-2007, that has been designed specifically for India. The programme details have been worked out by the European Commission and its Indian counterparts, such as FICCI/CII and various departments of the Indian Ministry of Commerce. It will be formally approved and announced at the EU-India Summit (28-29 November), and it is scheduled to start early next year. Its objective is to promote EU-India trade and investment through a number of very practical grant schemes, that intend to solve problems through the exchange of best practices, training, tackling gaps in infrastructure (e.g. all kinds of equipment), and so on. The intense cooperation between the EC and Indian officials that were involved in the design of the program, resulted in the following TIDP components: 1. The Investment Facilitation Desks 1,2 million € has been set aside to inform and assist European investors with their FDI projects, and to liaise with both European and Indian institutions, such as the FIPB and the FIIA. Eligible applicants for funding under this scheme are expected to be organizations with national reach such as FICCI and CII, so there does not seem to be anything in it for companies at the moment. 2. Upgrading of food laboratories This component aims to address problems and irritants such as the rejection of food consignments and the (mutual) lack of information on standards and regulations. It has received the largest budget allocation within the TIDP programme (5,7 million €), and typical project areas would be: upgrading of physical testing infrastructure, training and study visits, procedural stuff, while there are also some very specific minor sub-components such as organic farming and CE marking. 3. Intellectual property rights This activity area receives 1,7 million €. It basically focuses on the exchange of best practices in the fields of registration, enforcement, training, as well as on awareness campaigns, the development of patents, trademarks, geographical indications and other IPRs. 4. Customs cooperation A 495.000 € budget has been reserved for technical assistance in this area, as well as technical exchange visits and training on various topics such as EDI procedures, container scanning (and procurement in this area!) Page 6 of 20
  7. 7. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 5. EU-India Trade Portal This is just a website, that will be further developed from the existing ITPO website (www.tradeportalofindia.com). Not less than 950.000 € has been set aside for this. One would expect a lot of companies to tender on one or more of the subcontracts here… 6. Sustainability Impact Assessment 750.000 € has been allocated to produce a study on the impact of EU policies on India, and Indian trade policies on EU trade. UNCTAD will contribute and execute it. The EU-India TIDP programme is a typical programme that may interest companies just because of the subcontracts that are almost always involved in these projects. Is there anyone out there designing container scanners, for instance, or working on EDI? ASIA INVEST II The Asia-Invest Programme commenced in 1997, and has since entered a second phase of implementation for five years, from 2003 to 2007, with a renewed European Commission commitment of 41 million €. Its scale is clearly far more modest than FP6. Also, contrary to what one would expect, companies can actually not directly apply for grants, although the programme’s aims would seem to suggest that. Indeed, the objective of the programme is to support business co-operation between the EU and Asia through three areas of activities: 1. business match-making, 2. the development of the Asian private sector and the capacity and, 3. networking between EU and Asian intermediaries. However, eligible applicants for grants are primarily non-profit business organizations or business intermediaries that promote trade and investment, such as chambers of commerce, sector-specific trade and industrial associations, employers’ federations, local agencies as well as various administrations and government agencies that promote or have influence in attracting trade and investment. The executives of the BBA or our Chambers of Commerce will surely want to have a look at the website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/asia-invest/html2002/main.htm. Page 7 of 20
  8. 8. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 ASIA IT&C The Asia IT&C (Information Technology and Telecommunications) programme was launched in 1999 with an initial budget of 19 million € to fund some 100 projects over 5 years in 17 South and South East Asian countries. It is partly the result of the successful experiences with the 3SEI-organization (Software Services Support for Europe and India), that was initiated back in 1993. The budget has been increased, in the meanwhile, to 35 million €. The programme objectives cover a very wide spectrum of activity areas, including: society, e- commerce, i-manufacturing, education, transport, health, agriculture and tourism. Again, this is a list that is not very restrictive, so with some imagination almost any company should be able to come up with some kind of project that fits into one of these categories. However, this is unfortunately again one of the programmes designed to benefit non-profit organizations (for a number of reasons, including international rules on unfair competition: the EU can indeed not subsidize whatever it would want to subsidize). Indeed, typical organizations that are eligible for funding are research institutes and universities, professional associations, NGOs, national or regional organizations, agencies or… chambers of commerce and business associations ! So, as with the Asia Invest II program, members of the BBA and our Chambers of Commerce may want to have a look at it: http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/asia- itc/html/main.htm. As for practicalities, this programme actually co-finances projects, and the degree of funding depends on the type of project, ranging from 25% (for practical demonstrations projects for instance) up to 80% (this applies, for instance, to projects that are aimed at transferring know- how). In addition, minimum and maximum grant amounts have been defined, that also depend on the type of project. The so-called ‘grant brackets’ range from 100,000 € to 400,000 €, so it’s actually a rather small-scale grants scheme, and you do have to come up with some of money from other sources (which is, in a sense, a sort of check on how interesting your project really is). As with the other programmes, participants should be consortia of organizations from both the EU and the participating Asian countries. EU-ASIA PRO ECO The Asia Pro Eco Programme is again a five-year programme (2002-2006), with a total budget of 82,3 million €. The main objective is to support policies, technologies and practices that promote cleaner, more resource-efficient and sustainable solutions to environmental problems in Asia. The programme works through grants, again to public or non-profit organizations, so companies can benefit only indirectly. As for now, the programme mainly funds working conferences, diagnostic studies, policy advice, feasibility studies, technology partnerships and demonstration activities in the environmental field. Could the BBA or our Chambers of Commerce perhaps find some inventive way to work Page 8 of 20
  9. 9. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 together with some Indian and Belgium companies to benefit from this program? For more information, the website can be checked out (http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/asia- pro-eco/index_en.htm. EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK FUNDS The European Investment Bank (EIB) is a huge EU institution, based in Luxembourg, and incredibly active, though not very well known. During the last five years, it has funded projects and loans all over the world for a total amount of not less than 172,9 billion €. Although most of the money (about 85%) goes to European countries, especially Central and Eastern European countries now, the EIB also actively funds projects in Asia and other regions, up to the tune of some 2 billion € over the past five years. A EIB representative actually visited Delhi early this year to encourage banks and companies (and embassies, business associations and whatever of course) to look into this possibility, as there seem to be less applicants from Asian than Latin American countries. Indeed, from this 2 billion €, almost 70% went to Latin America and that should not be the case, as there is clearly a need for more investment money here in Asia, and in India in particular, too. EIB funding consists of medium and long-term loans at very advantageous interest rates. The EIB is able to lend at these low rates, because it gets preferential rates itself on the international capital markets, because of its size and the sovereign guarantee extended to it by the EU institutions and governments. In addition, as it operates on a non-profit basis, it only charges a tiny little margin to cover operation costs. The EIB has not been very active in India until now, but it is currently negotiating with the Finance Ministry, as it really wants to kick off its operations here. Funding through the EIB definitely fits into the 1994 cooperation agreement between the EU and India, and therefore should be encouraged. It’s big business, as typical project loans are in the 25 to 50 million USD range. Eligible project areas are economic infrastructure works, large energy projects, agro-industrial projects, large investments in the mining and tourism industry, and others. No organizations are excluded, although lenders would typically fall into one of the following categories: private sector companies, banks, or public institutions/government agencies. For more information, it’s advisable to explore the website: www.eib.org. It’s probably also interesting to know that, in India, the EIB operates via the Rabo Bank International. Page 9 of 20
  10. 10. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 For more information… In order to benefit from one or more of the programmes mentioned above, one has to come well- prepared, and international networking (both within the EU as well as in Asia) is a key prerequisite in order to qualify for funding. However, the potential rewards in terms of funding definitely seem to be worth the trouble. For more information, it’s also worth exploring the website of the Delegation of the European Commission in Delhi (www.delind.cec.eu.int), besides the websites mentioned above. The website of the EC Delegation in Delhi is very well-organized and includes summary information about all the programmes. It also announces the new calls for proposals for the various programmes. If one would wish to contact the delegation, and would want some assistance from the Embassy, both the Trade Commissioners (Mr. Eric Santkin and Mr. Peter Verplancken), as myself are ready to assist. It should also be noted that a lot of these programmes or programme components are not designed to benefit companies directly. However, even if companies are not eligible for grants under one of these programmes, they may want to follow up the calls for proposals just for the sake of seeing if there is no way they can secure one or the other of the subcontracts that are almost always involved in these projects. Especially the EU-India TIDP initiative seems to fall under this category of programmes. The time to act is now, as most of the programmes have just been renewed, or are in the process of being renewed, as 2004 marks the beginning of a new multi-year budget period for the European Union institutions. Text compiled by: Mr. Jean-Louis Van Belle, Counsellor and DCM, Embassy of Belgium Note: The European Commission has also developed a number of programs to promote exchanges and activities in the areas of culture, education and scientific cooperation. Some of these have also fairly substantial budgets. For instance, the EU-India Economic Cross-Cultural Programme (ECCP) has been set up to support innovative India-EU civil society partnerships in the areas of (1) Media/Communication and Culture, (2) Entrepreunerial Networking, and (3) the Universities and Studies field. So there’s surely something in here. The ECCP is implemented through calls for proposals. The last call for proposal involved a budget of 12 million € (4 million € for each of the 3 areas), so it’s really very substantial. The next and last call for proposals under this program will most probably come out in January 2004. The deadline for proposals should be some three months later (March-April). The budget for this third and last call under this program will be 6 to 8 million €. For more information: see the website of the EC Delegation in Delhi, under ‘Civil Society and NGOs’: www.delind.cec.eu.int/en/csn/civil_society/eccp.htm. Page 10 of 20
  11. 11. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 THE HISTORY OF BELGIUM AND THE BELGIANS IN INDIA Few are those who have ever heard about the feats of the Ostend Company in Bengal. Yet, the history of Belgium in India starts there, in 1723, with the mooring of the first ship of the Company at Banquibazar, on the riverside of the Hooghly (a tributary of the Ganga). Other ships of the Company followed from 1725 to 1730, during which period Belgians got the concession of Banquibazar as well as a settlement at Cassimbazar from the Nabab of Murshidabad. Their warehouses flourished due to the strategic position of these settlements and the dynamism of the settlers. Banquibazar actually became a sort of model colonial town. For instance, the layout of its avenues had been carefully mapped in accordance to the most rigorous rules of urbanism. A few decades later, the arrival of Balthazar Solvyns in Calcutta marked a more cultural high point in the history of Indo-Belgian relations. Indeed, Balthazar Solvyns was as much an artist as a sailer, and brought with him some of the cultural wealth of Antwerp to India. In West Bengal, he published not less than 250 engravings depicting Bengali customs and people. His main work, however, is a 4-volume work of 288 pictures on the Hindu people. All of these plates were annotated in both French and English. Solvyn’s paintings and engravings are still being reproduced today, and one can also find originals in high places, such as the Indian Prime Minister’s Residence. They are an extremely important resource for all those who want to dig into the history of the Bengali and Hindu society of the 18th century. At the end of the 1770s, Belgium became also known in India for its quality glass as well as for its quality iron and steel products. One item that was especially in demand were the so-called Belgian trunks: large metal boxes for storage and heavy-duty transport, not unlike those used by military men. One could find these large trunks, painted in green or brown and bearing the trademark ‘Belgium’, all over the market, then as well in the centuries that followed. The trademark ‘Belgium’ was unfortunately no proof they were really Belgian. Actually, they probably weren’t: the name ‘Belgium’ on the trunks was, in most cases, just intended to convince the buyer of the quality and solidity of the product. From their travels in Europe, Maharajahs, merchants and settlers also used to bring back huge, impressive and sumptuous Belgian cut-glass or crystal chandeliers, as well as mirrors, to lighten up their palaces and manor houses in India. Even today, one can find ample evidence of that in dwellings such as the palaces of Gwalior and Mysore for instance, or the Marble Palace in Calcutta. Several Maharajahs also eagerly bought works from the great Flemish masters of painting. The present-day visitor to India can still admire works from painters such as Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens, David Teniers and Otto Van Veen in musea such as the Museum Gallery of Sir Sayaji Rao III Gaekwad at Aroda (Gujarat). In the Marble Palace in Calcutta there is a painting by Rubens too. Its condition is unfortunately in a very bad state. Many of these Page 11 of 20
  12. 12. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 works actually desperately need restoration. Some brainstorming for saving this cultural heritage is urgently required… Thinking of Belgium, one also thinks of lace of course. Lace from Bruges or Brussels came to India through a remarkable woman: Sister Marie Louise de Meester, who has founded the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) in India in 1897. She taught the art of lace and embroidery to the poor orphans of Mulagumoodu in the state of Tamil Nadu. This project has been such a success that now, more than hundred years later, the orphanages of the IHM sisters continue to produce goods for sale back in Belgium. Present-day visitors of Calcutta, that majestic city at the center of the region where the first Belgian traders and investors were most active, should also not miss its Supreme Court, as it’s actually a replica of the famous Clotmakers’ Halls (Lakenhallen) in Ypres. They should also visit the well-known St Xavier’s College that has been run by Belgian Jesuits for some 140 years now. Better know by its diminutive ‘St Xavier’s’, the College is recognised all over India for its high standards of learning and the many VIPs and VVIPs among its alumni. Although attention is often focused on the Belgian contributions in the intellectual, scientific and academic fields, it is worthwhile to underline the involvement of Belgium in areas such as health, education, rural development, as well as the promotion of universally accepted human rights and values in general. Indeed, many Belgians who lived or live in India have been (or still are) entirely driven by a well-meant concern for the needy and destitute. Reading or hearing about their exploits fills one with deep respect. Let me just recall some of them, while apologizing immediately for being unfair to so many others, because I just can’t mention all of them in the brief space that has been allotted to me here in this newsletter: • Eugène Lafont sj (1837-1908): the man who organized the teaching of science, and scientific research, at St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta. He was among the first to introduce the modern scientific research approach to problems, as he insisted on hands- on experimenting, as against the rote learning that was so prevalent in those days. He also founded the first scientific laboratories in Calcutta, and his suggestions for educational reform in the field of teaching of science and technology were integrated into the Curzon reform of the Calcutta University. He also designed the College observatory that was the first actually in India to carry out meteorological and astronomical studies. For all these and many other reasons, the gentry of Calcutta dubbed him ‘the father of modern scientific education’. He was rewarded for his contributions in many ways, one of them being granted the distinction of Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire by Queen Victoria. • Kamiel Bulcke sj (1909-1982): without any doubt, the resident Belgian in India who is known best in India, as his English-Hindi dictionary is still the best-seller in the market today. He had a tremendous impact as a recognized expert, in India and abroad, on works such as the Ramayana (the famous Hindu epic). He was also the founder of the Page 12 of 20
  13. 13. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 Bihar Rashtra Bhasha Parishad (the Bihar Academy of Hindi Language), as well as a distinguished member of the Kendrya Hindi Samiti (the Cultural Committee for Hindi). He was finally awarded the Padma Bhusan by the President of India in 1974 for his contribution to Hindi literature and, a few months before his death in 1982, he was also awarded the Vayavriddha Sahityakar Puraskar by the Bihar Rashtra Bhasha Parishad. • Robert Antoine sj (1914-1981): a famous Indologist, as well as a philosopher and an expert in Sanskrit, Bengali and European literature. He is mainly known because of his contributions to the development of Bengali culture and the enrichment of the Bengali and Sanskrit languages. In 1951 he founded the Shanti Bhavan (the House of Peace), a centre of spiritual and cultural life and dialogue in Calcutta. As a scholar well versed in both the Greek and Latin classics as well as in the Sanskrit classics, he made a Bengali translation of the Aeneid of Virgil, and of the Seven Theban Tragedies, in close cooperation with Dr. Hrishikesh Bose. He also published an English translation of Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa. On top of that, he also wrote a Sanskrit manual as well as a Sanskrit exercise book for high school students. • Pierre Fallon sj (1912-1985): the first foreigner to obtain a Master’s degree in Bengali literature from Calcutta University, where he was subsequently appointed to Professor. As an Indologist and expert in Bengali, he delivered numerous lectures and conferences in many centres of Art and Culture that have contributed greatly to a better understanding between India and Europe, and between Hindus and Christians. In 1971, during the days of the mass refugee influx into the state of West Bengal, he was asked to go to Europe as a sort of Ambassador-at-large to tour the capitals of Europe. He met with many international and political leaders, key journalists and opinion makers of media and news agencies, as well as radio and television. By writing, talking and speeching, he helped to mobilize international support, and only three weeks later, food, medicines and material landed down on the tarmac of Dum Dum Airport to rescue millions of refugees. • Constant Lievens sj (1856-1893): known for having protected and defended the tribal people in the state of Jharkhand. He represented the tribals in Court, and his arguments prevailed: the tribals got back their lands. He also started a vast movement to try to liberate the tribal people from the zamindars (landlords). The tribals of Chotanagpur still consider him to be their saviour and guide. In Jharkand, the memories of Father Lievens are still very much alive today, and they serve as a solid bridge between India and Belgium. • Michael Windey sj (1921- ) is a well-known name in the field of disaster preparedness and disaster relief. He and his team are always among the first to assist the victims of major earthquakes, floods or other calamities. As a true follower of Gandhi, the Great Soul, he also endeavours to contribute to the harmonious relationships between communities while doing the reconstruction work in the devastated or affected villages. Page 13 of 20
  14. 14. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 • Dr. Hemerijck, Dr. Claire Vellut, and Simone Liégeois were pioneers in the field of leprosy eradication in India. They settled in Pollambakkam, an endemic region for leprosy situated in Tamil Nadu in 1955. They introduced the concept of ‘clinics under the trees’ in the villages. These ‘clinics’ were set up once a month in every village of the district. The World Health Organization recognized their efforts by choosing their centre as a model to reach out to those that are affected by the disease. The Damien Foundation also supported them in their work and thanks to their involvement, centres to control leprosy have been set up in many other Indian states. Polambakkam has become a training centre for the staff for all of these centres, as well as for WHO personal. Dr. Claire Vellut was another Belgian who was awarded by the President of India for her work (she received the Padma Sri distinction). • Since 1963, when she came to India, Jeanne Devos, a member of the ICM (Immaculate Heart of Mary) congregation, had always had a strong desire to work with and for the most exploited and marginalized. She started a student movement to aimed to raise awareness among the students about the plight of the underprivileged. Today, her YSMD (Youth Student Movement for Development) is strong all over India. Jeanne Devos also started the ‘Domestic Workers’ Movement’. This movement too is today a national one, working in 12 states and in 9 languages. As a result of her actions, the rights of domestics as workers have been asserted in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra already. The movement also works on the complex issue of trafficking in women and children, especially the trafficking from the tribal belt into major cities of India for forced labour and domestic work. Her work was recognized by the Justice and Peace Commission in Mumbai, and she was honoured by the University of Leuven (Belgium) with an Honorary Doctorate. • Jean Drèze (1959- ), a famous economist, is now working permanently in India, as a development economist at the Department of Economics at the Delhi School of Economics. His books, academic papers, book reviews and articles, focus on hunger, poverty and education. He has co-authored several books with Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen (‘Hunger and Public Action, ‘The Political Economy of Hunger’, ‘India: Economic Development and Social Opportunity’, etcetera). Jean Drèze came to India in 1981, and chose to live for quite some time in the slums of Delhi, where he really got to know the economic problems of India inside out. His publications and extraordinary competence, while at the same time staying very modest and low profile, make him a remarkable expert, respected by both academics as well as politicians. I could further fill numerous pages, for instance by writing about the traders, investors and companies that have discovered India since the Ostend Company did, but there is no scope for that here. Besides, another part of this newsletter has already been devoted to a brief overview of the economic and commercial aspects of our bilateral relations, so it’s time to conclude here. Page 14 of 20
  15. 15. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 I hope to have convinced my readers that, even if Belgium can of course not pretend to have had relations that were as wide in scope and scale as some other European Union countries, it has built very close and very friendly links with India that are unique in many ways. As far as my contacts go, I also have the impression that our Indian friends do acknowledge that. Text complied by: Mr. Philippe Falisse, Counsellor, Embassy of Belgium Page 15 of 20
  16. 16. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 Indo-Belgian Trade & Investment Relations: 2003. For years Indo-Belgian trade exchanges have seen healthy evolution both in terms of imports and exports. The statistical details provide a testimony to the heights to which the trade exchanges have reached. The import-exports statistics for Indian fiscal year 01 April 2002 to 31 March 2003, provided by the “Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence”, Ministry of Commerce, Kolkata, indicate that in the matter of Indian Imports, BELGIUM is the second largest supplier after the USA. The following is the standing among the top 6 trading partners of India: USA, Belgium, China, UK, Germany and Switzerland. Likewise, in Indian Exports, BELGIUM enjoys the standing of SEVENTH largest client for Indian products after the USA, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, UK, Germany and China. The Belgian statistical figures for the 3 calendar years also corroborate the fact: Year Total Belgian Import Total Belgian Export 2000 1,73 bln Euros 3,46 bln Euros 2001 1,68 bln ” 3,01 bln ” 2002 1,77 bln ” 4,07 bln ” In this total trade exchange, “diamond” stands out as the pre-dominant element in the exchanges – i.e. “rough diamonds” exported from Belgium to India and “cut & polished diamonds” imported into Belgium from India. Their values and percentage represented in the trade exchanges are indicated below: DIAMOND Year Import into Belgium Export to India 2000 1,04 bln E (60,11%) 3,05 bln E (88,15%) 2001 0,97 bln E (57,73%) 2,61 bln E (86,71%) 2002 1,15 bln E (64,97%) 3,64 bln E (89,53%) Page 16 of 20
  17. 17. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 The other important elements represented in the trade exchanges are as follows: Import of “textile products” into BELGIUM from India: Textile (2000) 0,34 bln E ((19,65%) (2001) 0,33 bln E ((19,64%) (2002) 0,27 bln E (15,25%) Import & Export of “base metals” and “Chemical products” between India and Belgium are also given below together with percentages: Base metals Year Import into Belgium Export to India 2000 0,07 bln E (4,04 %) 0,09 bln E (2,60%) 2001 0,04 bln E (2,38%) 0,09 bln E (2,99%) 2002 0,04 bln E (2,25%) 0,09 bln E (2,21%) Chemical products 2000 0,06 bln E (3,46%) 0,11 bln E (3,17%) 2001 0,05 bln E (2,97%) 0,10 bln E (3,32%) 2002 0,05 bln E (2,82%) 0,10 bln E (2,45%) Under “chemical products”, the items exported from Belgium under this category are photographic films (x-ray, still photography and cinematography), petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and inorganic chemicals. The items imported into Belgium under this category include pharmaceutical base, organic chemicals and some petrochemicals. Belgium also has a reasonable share in the export of “machines and tools” to India which is enumerated below: Machines 2000 0,08 bln E (2,31%) 2001 0,07 bln E (2.32%) 2002 0,10 bln E (2,45%) In terms of Belgian import-export statistics, India is the 10th largest client for Belgian exports and is the 19th largest supplier for Belgian imports. In terms of investments in India, Belgium occupies the position of 13th largest investor in India after the USA, Mauritius, the UK, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, France, Malaysia, Singapore and Italy. Page 17 of 20
  18. 18. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 From the time of the liberalisation of the Indian economy (July 1991), Belgium has invested to the extent of over 1 billion Euros. Since Belgium is Federal in structure, it has got 3 autonomous regions. FLANDERS, the Flemish speaking region in the North; at the heart of Flanders is the NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION OF BRUSSELS; and WALLONIA, the French speaking region in the South. All these 3 regions together constitute the Federal country of Belgium. Each region has its own economic prowess and a contribution of its own kind to make. FLANDERS. Amongst Flemish companies (the Flemish/Dutch language speaking region in the North of Belgium called FLANDERS), the large investors are: Barco, Bekaert, Dredging International, Jan De Nul, Alcatel-Bell, LMS International, DeSmet Chemfood Engineering, Safmarine, Samsonite, Plant Genetic Systems, Vesuvius Belgium, Continental Can Europe, Magnetrol, Tele Atlas, Agfa Gevaert, Machine Boucherie, Fina (Elf-Lub), LeasePlan, Eurologos, Aluvan, Chemresult.com, Kemin Europa, Creax, DeDuco, ABC-Anglo Belgian Corporation (Pégard Productics), Curans Consulting, Voxtron, LVD Lummus, De Witte Lietaer, Geodis Overseas-Polytra, etc. to name a few. Other than diamond, Flanders has active co-operation with India in the field of port and maritime sector (dredging, water navigation, oceanographic studies, sister port agreements with Indian Ports, etc. – Flemish organisations such as AGHA, FITA, APEC are very active in India). The Port of Zeebrugge has a sister port agreement with “Chennai Port” and the Antwerp Port has a sister port agreement with “Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust”. It also has cooperation in Space Programme in India (Verhaert Design & Development NV with Indian Space Research Organisation – ISRO in India), industrial cooperation agreement extended by the Belgian Federation of Industries (AGORIA with CII), environment and agricultural research fields. Flanders offers a range of products – interior textiles comprising of machine made carpets, upholstery, bed linen, etc.; beer, chocolates, cheese, timber, airport runway lighting systems, oil exploration equipment, crash fire tenders, railway signalling systems, special chemicals for waterproofing of tunnels for the Metro in Delhi, communication systems (telephones, air traffic control tower communication systems, etc.), medical electronics, processed food products (such as egg powder, potato powder, banana powder, etc.), display and projection systems, custom- made software, etc. to name a few. “Janssen Pharmaceutica” has a pre-dominant presence in India in the medical field. These elements have provided diversity in the trade pattern between India and Belgium. Belgian firnancial institutions too have very active presence in India. BANKS such as Crédit Agricole Indosuez, Fortis Bank, KBC Bank, Antwerpse Diamant Bank, Bank Brussel Lambert – BBL (ING Bank), Commerzbank, Banque Nationale de Paris – BNP (Brussels) – for project financing, and BIO (Belgische Investeringsmaatschappij voor Ontwkkelingen) have operations in India. It is to be noted that BBL from Belgium has a 51% stake in the “Vysya Bank” in Bangalore. Page 18 of 20
  19. 19. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 BRUSSELS REGION. In the matter of investments, BRUSSELS too has a strong presence in India. Companies such as Tractebel Engineering, Solvay, GEI-Hamon, UCB, Verson Europa, Logos (software development), Allilon (Lernit Europe NV) for software development, etc. have made sizeable investments in India. In India, the interest of this region is being defended by the “Walloon Trade Office” in New Delhi. WALLONIA. The Southern region of Belgium, WALLONIA too has important contributions in India. The products exported from this region range from sophisticated glass products to techniques for coal beneficiation, non-ferrous metals, public area and tunnel lighting systems, processed food, grinding media for cement industry, metal forging, vaccines for human and veterinary use, billiard balls, development of cyclotrons for nuclear medicine, interior designing, machine tools, quality construction of buildings, bridges, highways, pharmaceuticals, etc. Wallonia has also made strong contributions in India for low-head hydro-electric power generation (ACEC – Charleroi). CMI – Cockerill Mechanical Industries, the world pioneer in the matter of “waste heat recovery system” for transformation into electric energy has dominant presence in India – in oil refineries in the eastern and western region of India, fertilizer industry, brewery sector and the chemicals sector. It also has a tie-up with “Larson & Toubro Ltd.” in India for this sector. “SmithKline Beecham” is the single largest contributor of vaccines in India. It helps in eradicating polio in India. “Schréder” has lent its expertise in the field of public area lighting, highway illumination and tunnel passage lighting. “Magotteaux” has made very large investments in foundries in India. It has also acquired quite few Indian units to expand its presence. “Techspace Aero” has very close cooperation with “Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)” as well as with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL). In the field of glass “Glaverbel”, “Glaceries Saint-Roch” and “Val Saint-Lambert” have made yeoman’s contributions in India. Page 19 of 20
  20. 20. BELGIAN BUSINESS ASSOCIATION C/o Embassy of Belgium, 50-N, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021 Tel: 91-11-26889851, Fax: 91-11-26885821 In the matter of investments, the following companies from Wallonia have made sizeable contributions in Indian economic development: CMI, Magotteaux, Belovo, Keselec Schreder, Degrémont Benelux, Smith Kline Beecham, Artal Foods SPRL, Slegten, Socogétra, Union Minière, Société Générale des Minerais, Vinçotte International, Unity Info Technologies (software development), etc. Belgium’s economy revolves around evolution of high technology and manufacture of top quality products. Hence there is a lot of emphasis given to research and development. To survive in a competitive global market, Belgium, as a small country in size, is required to give utmost importance to export promotion from Belgium to other countries around the world. In this context, Belgium strives to promote finished products produced in its own facilities and the related services. It also gives due recognition to investments in overseas countries – individually on its own strength or in partnership with a company belonging to a particular country. Belgian companies have also ventured into transfer of technology and into joint ventures. As regards import from Belgium, be it products or technology & related services, potential exists for automotive components, healthcare products, pharmaceuticals, imaging systems, medical electronics, biotechnology, infrastructure facilities for ports & maritime sector, logistics, supply chain management, establishment of cold chain, development of waterways, airports, ports, petrochemical centre, containerisation, storage systems, building materials, fertilizers, timber & other wood-based products, top quality furniture, processed food, packaging systems, interior textiles, architecture, energy, airport passenger buses, trolley buses for public transport network, different types of heavy duty vehicles, runway sweepers, security systems, telecommunication systems, banking systems, surveillance and warning systems for traffic management, computerised sales and auctioning systems, high-speed railway transport system, plastics, etc. Text complied by: Mr. T.S. Srinivasan, Trade Commissioner-Advisor, Export Vlaanderen. Page 20 of 20