The Netherlands has emerged as the fourth most popular destination for Indian exports. What are the contributing factors behind this?
The Netherlands has always been a very open economy with great logistical infrastructure. Our harbor Rotterdam is the largest and most efficient harbor in Europe. Therefore, not only Indian exports to the Netherlands, but also many Indian exports to Germany, France and Belgium enter through the Netherlands. India is doing very well with trade, it has registered the highest exports in 2022.
Fuel was an important part of Indian exports. Rotterdam, a major port for energy imports, was a so-called natural export destination for Indian energy exports to the EU. But a high level of product exports contributed to the increase. The Netherlands is the gateway to Europe due to its excellent inland connectivity and hence an important destination for the export of products like Indian goods to Europe.
What is the Netherlands planning to increase investment in India under the Make in India initiative?
For us, the Make in India initiative is a policy to better connect India to the global supply chain. We support Dutch companies for diversifying the supply chain to look for opportunities in India. We do this in close consultation with Invest India.
Invest India is a great partner for foreign investors in India. Make in India can help Dutch companies to invest in India. A great example is our collaboration with Dutch shipbuilder Royal IHC
Ltd. Under the Make in India initiative, they are going to build dredgers for DCI to meet the growing demand in India for dredging services.
What is the Netherlands’ plan to become a gateway for Indian exports and investment in Western and Northern Europe based on port facilities? Do you have any plans for cooperation in the shipping sector?
We are connecting nearly half a billion customers in Europe with global producers. The Netherlands has a world-class port, a great Amsterdam airport, a vast network of waterways, a strong road transport sector and a network of rail infrastructure. We offer the best infrastructure, but where to invest is ultimately for the private sector.
We strongly believe in market driven processes. Due to our strong economy we see many foreign companies investing in the Netherlands. There are more than 200 Indian companies in the Netherlands. Companies like
, HCL,,,. Not just because of the infrastructure, but also because of our high technology private sector, our strong organization and skilled workforce.
We see many Indian companies using the Netherlands as a hub in Europe and we welcome Indian companies. It’s also great to see the homes that Indians feel in the Netherlands. English is our second language, there are many Indian restaurants, we play cricket, though not as good as in India, and Amsterdam Airport has very good connections to several Indian cities.
How would you identify the Indian President’s visit to the Netherlands and your foreign ministers’ visit to India?
Extremely positive. This was the first state tour since Covid 19, so everyone in the Netherlands was very excited. We had a very warm welcome from the royal family and our Prime Minister. There was a strong engagement from the whole Dutch cabinet. We have celebrated 75 years of diplomatic relations and friendship. During the visit, the President of India named a new variety of tulips called Maitri as a symbol of special and long-standing friendship between India and the Netherlands.
It was the first visit by a head of state from India to the Netherlands in more than three decades. There is a normal partnership between India and the Netherlands and there is a lot of coordination in our relationship. We are both democracies, we value rule-based systems and a multifaceted society. Both our economies are market driven and innovative. We are working together on water, agriculture, climate and health.