Austria to invest in India, calls for trade too

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, December 10: | Updated: Dec 11 2007, 00:16am hrs
The Austria announced its investment plans in India as one of its leading company, Siemens Transportation System decided to join with the Indian public sector, RITES in production of railway wagons.

The MoU between the two parties was signed in presence of the visiting Austrian minister of economics and labour, Martin Bartenstein here on Monday.

The Euro 30 million wagon production project would be ready for delivery by 2009. According to the agreement 50% of the production would be for exports and the balance for domestic use.

In a luncheon interaction hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Bartenstein outlined his investment plans for India and identified areas of cooperation in energy and environment, climate change, information technology, infrastructure, automotive industry, renewable energy, electronics and electrical industry and healthcare.

Austria, which is a member of the European Union, expected that dialogue between EU and India for a free trade agreement would mature in time, benefiting both sides. "There is now an impasse in the WTO negotiation. We hope this would soon be resolved. Bilateral trade agreements would cement WTO agreements," Bartenstein said.

Austrian exports to India have increased from Euro 280 million in 2004 to over Euro 500 million. "The bilateral trade has seen a jump of 40%," said Bartensteinsaid.

He said that Indian companies like Wipro, Bajaj Motors and Caf Coffee Day have planned their investments in Austria. He said that Austria can be India's base for contacts with east European countries and added that Austrian exports performed well despite unfavourable Euro-exchange rate. "We are closely monitoring the depreciation trend in US dollar," he said.

Austria is planning to implement its "Going to India" national export initiative. Bartenstein, who is leading a business delegation, would be visiting Chennai and Mumbai in his four-day stay.