India’s commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday met top Japanese businessmen, including the heads of Toyota, Suzuki, Hitachi, Aichi Prefecture and Soft Bank to discuss ways of enhancing trade and investment flows between the two Asian giants.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship ‘Make in India’ was on top of Sitharaman’s agenda.
“India wants to increase the contribution of manufacturing sector to GDP to 25% and Japan is a natural partner in our goals,” she said at the India conference in Nagoya city.
A presentation on ‘Make in India’ was made by Secretary DIPP, Ramesh Abhishek.
The minister had extensive discussions with Toyota Motor Corp managing officer Hiroyuki Fukui, Hitachi’s healthcare business head Masaya Watanabe, Suzuki Motor Corporation chairman Osamu Suzuki, NGK Insulators chairman Eiji Hanamoto and Aichi Prefecture governor Hideaki Ohmura.
Sitharaman also met SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
Thanking the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for establishing the Aichi Desk in 2016, within the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Aichi governor said vowed the India Conference will further encourage the companies in Aichi Prefecture to invest in India.
Sitharaman commended the contribution of Aichi Prefecture towards manufacturing value addition despite high savings rate among the Prefectures in Japan.
Foreign direct investment flows from Japan amounted to $25.2 billion since April 2000, ranking the country third after Mauritius and Singapore.
Sitharaman urged Japanese firms to diversify investment in other sectors such as food processing, textiles, medical equipment, electronics and information technology.
The Minister invited Aichi Hideaki to lead a delegation of Japanese companies to MSME clusters in India to explore partnership and investment opportunities, ahead of the proposed visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in second half of 2017.
Highlighting the reforms pace in India, including the ease the business operations, the passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST) bills, enactment of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, reduction in corporate tax rates, Sitharaman emphasized the flagship initiatives like Digital India, Start-Up India, and JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, and Mobile) trinity in driving the future growth.