Address by H.E. Mr. Kenji HIRAMATSU,
Ambassador of Japan to India,
on the occasion of Inauguration of
“Bengal Global Business Summit 2016”

– 8th January, 2016 –

H.E. Ms. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the State of West Bengal,

H.E. Dr. Amit Mitra, Minister of Finance, IT, Commerce & Industry, the State of West Bengal,

H.E. Mr. Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bhutan,

H.E. Mr. Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance,

Honourable Ministers from the Union Government of India,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed my great pleasure to be here at the inauguration of “Bengal Global Business Summit 2016” to represent Japan as the partner country. I am also delighted that we are joined by two representatives on the dais, Mr. Junichi Okamoto from Mitsubishi Chemical, Mr. Keiichi Higuchi from Kawasaki Rikuso Transportation.

- Mitsubishi Chemical is the biggest Japanese company in West Bengal, and is currently constructing new additional facility in its factory.

- Kawasaki Rikuso Transportation was invited by the State Government to this Summit for its initiative to improve the logistic in agriculture.

Today, we also have around 40 Japanese business representatives here.

Visible presence of Japanese companies in India is a reflection of ever strengthening relationship between Japan and India.

Last month, Prime Minister Abe visited India and had a successful summit with Prime Minister Modi. On this occasion, they resolved to transform the “Japan-India Special Strategic and Global Partnership” into a deep, broad-based and action-oriented partnership. In fact, such strategic direction is already exemplified by significant policy outcomes achieved at that time in such areas as the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy and High Speed Railways. I do believe that Japan-India relationship has indeed entered into a new era.

In this evolving bilateral relationship, economic cooperation plays a key role. Both Prime Ministers welcomed the steady progress of “the Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership” initiative, which was announced in September 2014 at the time of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan. The initiative set concrete targets of doubling Japan’s FDI and the number of Japanese companies in India, and achieve 3.5 trillion yen (around 30 billion USD) of public, private investment and financing from Japan to India, both within five years. On the private side, when we add announcements made by Japanese companies in the past year on large investment in India, it is already around 14 billion USD. On the public side, the total commitment of Japanese ODA yen loan to India in FY2015 is expected to reach around 400 billion yen, the highest ever provided to India.

I would like to highlight two significant developments in further increasing investment from Japan to India. First, Japan has set up the “Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility” to promote direct investment of Japanese companies and to help materialise Make-in-India policy. The facility provides up to 1.5 trillion yen (12.9 billion USD) insurance and loan by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). Second, well-developed industrial parks along with trunk infrastructure and investment-related incentives are extremely important for companies to make direct investment, particularly, in the manufacturing sector. Currently, developing “Japan Industrial Townships (JITs)” is becoming a wide-spread move among various states in India. Japanese and Indian Governments have jointly identified 12 candidate sites. We expect that special incentive packages be provided to attract Japanese investment in the JITs. For these “Special Finance Facility” and JITs to work as drivers to increase Japanese investment in India, it is earnestly expected that reform measures be implemented on the ground in an accelerated manner to improve business environment.

When we look at State Governments in India, the competition among states to attract Japanese investment into their domain has become very active. In FY2015, Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh visited Japan to promote investment. We are encouraged to see the efforts by Her Excellency Ms. Mamata Banerjee and the State of West Bengal in trying to lead in infrastructure development and improvement of business environment including power supply, single-window clearance system.

Japan has a long history of connection with Bengal, starting from the interaction between the great poet Rabindranath Tagore and Tenshin Okakura. In addition to the sense of closeness derived from such historical interaction, Japan expects to deepen economic ties with the State of West Bengal. West Bengal has potential to become a manufacturing and supply base for East and North-East India as well as the centre of expandable supply-chain between Bengal region and ASEAN. In this sense, I am expecting the State of West Bengal to be one of the best investment destinations in India for Japanese industries. Japan is always with West Bengal.

Once Japanese Industries invest, they transfer the most advanced technology and management know-how, and create a huge number of jobs in the area. In these ways, Japan would like to contribute to “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India” and “Clean India”, and join hands in the promotion of further economic development of the State of West Bengal.I hope the State of West Bengal will continue to be a successful example in terms of inviting FDIs. And today’s event is exactly part of this endeavour. I wish a big success of “Bengal Global Business Summit 2016”. Thank you very much.