Spain wants to invest in India and export its knowledge skills. India hopes to gain from Spain's expertise, and use the country as a bridge for trade with Latin America. Suryakanthi Tripathi, Indian Ambassador to Spain.
He spoke to M Rajendran in Madrid, on future areas of cooperation between the two countries, specially in the Pharma, Biotechnology and the small and medium enterprises (SME) market.
Q: What measures are being taken to increase bilateral trade between India and Spain?
A: India's bilateral trade with Spain is about $ 3 billion (Rs 13,500 crore). But it is growing by 25-30% annually. And there is much more the two countries can do together. In the future, I expect bilateral economic relations to involve more of investment rather than just trade.
Indian companies can invest in Information Technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals in Spain, while Spanish companies can invest in real estate, construction, tourism, renewable energy and food processing in India.
Technology transfer and international management of communication networks will be other areas for bilateral trade.
Q: How do Spanish companies view the Indian market?
A: All the Spanish companies which would like to be truly international are keen to invest in India, because they feel to be in India - or to do business with India - is important in order to be recognised as an international company. India is extremely important.
Most companies are assessing the opportunities right now and deciding the states they would like to invest in. Unlike those of some other European countries, Spanish companies do not have a history of working in India.
Q: Which are the sectors that excite the Spanish companies?
A: Real estate and infrastructure. The grip that Spanish companies also have on mining, tourism and telecom in Latin America is extraordinary. It is this expertise and global advantage that the Spanish companies, which they have acquired in last 20 years, would like to exploit in India
Q: India and Spain tied up for technology development in July last year. What has that achieved?
A: Currently a delegation from the Ministry of Science and Education is in India to attend the India-Europe trade union meeting for science and technology. They would also look at various projects for joint research.
Some of the ideas that are being examined include renewable energy, water conservation and reutilisation of water. Spain is one of the leaders in this field. Other areas include veterinary science and food processing.
Q: Is Spain an attractive destination for Bolloywood?
A: It has started. A Tamil movie featuring Rajnikanth was shot in Barcelona about five months back and in the last two years Indian film festivals are being held here.
About six months ago a group from the state of Castilla Leon along with film producers in Spain had gone to Mumbai to make a presentation highlighting Spain as the destination for shooting movies, I understand it was attended by the top directors and producers in Mumbai.