Thursday, 22 September 2016 at MCCI
The Chamber organized an Interactive Session with H E Mr. Thorir Ibsen, Ambassador of Iceland to India on “Doing Business with Iceland” on Thursday, 22 September 2016 at 4 pm at its premises. Mr. Haukur Olofsson, Minister Counsellor, Embassy of Iceland also attended the Session.
A Free Trade Agreement could be worked out between India and Iceland for furtherance of bi-lateral trade relations, His Excellency mentioned.
Addressing the members, the Ambassador said that although political and commercial relation between the two countries had been warm and cordial, trade relations were yet to pick up. Describing Iceland as the most peaceful country with plenty of natural beauty and fresh water, he elaborated on 3 major foreign exchange earners viz. Fisheries, Renewable Energy and Tourism. GDP growth rate of Iceland was 4 p.c. in 2015, per capita income was 45,819 US$, GDP was 17 billion US$. While unemployment rate was 2.3 p.c. in 2016, inflation was 1.1 p.c., he added.
His Excellency focused on the possibilities of opening up newer areas in bilateral trade, which included Hydro power and geo-thermal energy in India with technology from Iceland; Food processing industries; Medical Equipments; Lifestyle products; Online Gaming; Biotechnology, including cosmetics and fresh water.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri P. Kamalakanth, IFS, Executive Director, WBIDC Ltd. urged that fishery and tourism were the two sectors that could enhance trade relation of Iceland with West Bengal, as people from the state were fond of both. Referring to high level of exports from West Bengal to the tune of 8 p.c. of Indian national figure, he invited the Ambassador to Bengal Global Business Summit, to be held in January 2017 to explore possibilities further.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Shri Ramesh Kumar Agarwal, Chairman, Foreign Trade Standing Committee mentioned about the bilateral trade figures. In FY 2015, Indian exports to Iceland being worth 18.55 million US$ while India’s imports from Iceland were worth 4.25 million US$, he said. He felt that although the volume of trade between the two countries right now was very small, there was a huge potential of enhancement of bilateral trade, major areas being Tourism, Renewable energy particularly Geo-thermal, Food Processing Technologies, Film industry, Chemicals, Software Solutions, Hospitality, Environmental Technology, digital technology, biotechnology and others. He also requested for an exclusive Aurora Borealis Tourism package for Indian tourists and a special shooting package in Iceland for film makers from this region.
The Session ended with a hearty Vote of Thanks by Shri Arpit Dhandhania, Co Chairman, Foreign Trade Standing Committee of the Chamber.