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February 7, 2019

BGBS 2019 – Country representatives express desire to collaborate with Bengal

Various country representatives expressed the desire to collaborate with Bengal during the second plenary session on the first day of Bengal Global Business Summit, 2019.

Here are the highlights:

Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India, World Bank: West Bengal has always been known as the centre of a logistics, transport and connectivity hub in eastern India. West Bengal’s investment in local governance is second to none in India. Any State that invests in its girls is worth investing in, and Kanyashree has played a transformative role in the lives of many girls of the State.

We would like to have a World Bank-West Bengal State partnership, which will enable us to invest much more in the Chief Minister’s vision of a West Bengal that’s going to lead the region. By June this year, we will cross the billion dollar-mark in investment in West Bengal, and with a State partnership, that amount will continue to increase.

Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India: Japan is a strong supporter of West Bengal through its various Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes. In terms of bilateral assistance, Japan is the largest donor country to West Bengal. West Bengal has a very important role to play in the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) area.

I would like to congratulate the Chief Minister for her continued support to Japanese companies, including small and medium-sized companies, by providing them with incentives and better infrastructure. I hope the State of West Bengal continues to be good partner of Japanese companies by providing incentives and infrastructure.

Rod Hilton, Australian Deputy High Commissioner to India – Being here it is extremely easy to see Bengal does mean business. West Bengal is among the top 10 States in India that the Australian Government has identified for our topline priority for engagement. Bengal means business and Australia stands ready to help Bengal fulfill its vision and aspirations.

Takeaway: Australia is opening a consulate in Kolkata soon.

Jean Claude Kugener, Ambassador, Luxembourg – We are honoured to be the partner country for the 5th Bengal Global Business Summit. Our presence in West Bengal are two companies specialising in high-tech manufacturing. We are looking forward to our cooperation in the years to come.

Crispin Simon, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia – We have a delegation of 40 businesses and public-sector entities, partnered with UKIBC. They represent British technology, primarily. Transport in London signed an MoU here already to develop the public transportation system. Other partnerships are in the field of basic science research.

Milan Hovorka, Ambassador of Czech Republic – We have a strong people to people connections – Batanagar bears the name of famous Czechoslovak industrialist Tomáš Baťa. I am accompanied today by a dozen Czech companies. Czech companies come every year to Kolkata to participate in global mining trade fairs and exhibitions.

Markku Keinänen, Under-Secretary of State, External Economic Relations, Finland – We are attending this summit with a delegation of 12 companies for sustainable solutions. These companies are ready to collaborate with you.

Jean-Marc FENET, Minister-Counsellor for Economic Affairs, French Embassy in India – More and more French companies are coming to Bengal. This was not the case even few years ago. Now, the business-friendly of the State has changed our perception. Next year, we will double the size of our delegation. We have 14-15 enterprises present in Kolkata already. You can count on French collaboration with Bengal in all sectors.

Nisha Biswal, President, US India Business Council – Importance of West Bengal as a connecting nodal point in the Indo-Pacific cannot be overstated. We are proud to have a strong delegation from North Carolina. We see incredible opportunities ahead.