Trade mission to India generates €170 million

This week’s trade mission to India has already generated an estimated €170 million in contracts between Dutch and Indian companies and organisations. Prime Minister Mark Rutte travelled to India with several cabinet members ­– Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation), Carola Schouten (Agriculture), Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) and Bruno Bruins (Healthcare and Sport) – and around 130 companies and organisations. This is the largest ever Dutch trade mission to the South Asian country.

The government delegation visited the cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore to promote cooperation between India and the Netherlands in several sectors: water, renewable energy, science and research, technology, agriculture and healthcare. In addition to the commercial contracts a number of partnership agreements were signed between Dutch and Indian knowledge institutions.

The prime minister also met with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. ‘This visit was meant to deepen the good relations between our countries, and in my opinion we have succeeded on this front,’ said Mr Rutte. ‘Prime Minister Modi and I agreed to further strengthen the close partnership between the Netherlands and India. With a rapidly growing Indian economy and the Netherlands as a gateway to Europe, there are many opportunities to be seized on both sides.’

For her part, Ms Kaag noted, ‘The Netherlands is the gateway to Europe for Indian companies, students, researchers and tourists. Air- and sea-based transport connections are excellent. Not only is cooperation between India and Dutch companies and organisations good for the Dutch economy; it also helps India meet the Sustainable Development Goals and address major challenges like air pollution in densely populated cities.’

According to Ms Schouten, the mission demonstrated how great Indian interest is in Dutch ideas on modernising agriculture and food processing. ‘It’s gratifying to see how our companies’ knowledge and practical ideas can help resolve the major social challenges facing India,’ she said.

Ms van Nieuwenhuizen’s visit to Delhi was in large part devoted to the current efforts to clean up the Ganges. ‘I witnessed first-hand the Indian government’s determination to tackle this problem,’ she remarked. ‘The Netherlands is doing its part too, with a project to discourage tanners from dumping wastewater in the river. The Dutch companies that joined us on this mission have demonstrated over the past few days that they have the solutions to deal with the pollution.’

‘Prime Minister Modi is seeking to reform the healthcare system and help 500 million people get insured,’ said Mr Bruins. ‘This is an enormous operation, and it can only work if the public and private sectors work together. We have a lot of experience with this sort of thing in the Netherlands. We talked with the Indian prime minister about the advice and support that Dutch research institutions and companies can give India. This also applies to the issue of antibiotic resistance. In 2040 this is predicted to cause 10 million deaths per year worldwide. India and the Netherlands are going to work together more closely to turn the tide.’

The trade mission was led by Hans de Boer of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW).