The establishment of the Greek-Indian CEO's Forum was ratified today (Wednesday 14 November 2007) in Mumbai by SEV and the Confederation of Indian Industries in the presence of deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Petros Doukas who is on an official visit in India. During the ratification ceremony, Dr. Athanase Lavidas, SEV General Secretary and Head of International Operations, stressed that the agreement seals the Memorandum of Cooperation which had been signed last February in New Delhi, ushering in new prospects and opportunities for the Greek business community.
During the ratification ceremony Dr. Lavidas stated that the goal of the Forum is to contribute in practical ways enhancing bilateral economic relations. Specifically, its aims include increasing Greek investments in India -there are only four today- and promoting competitive Greek products in a market with 1.2 billion consumers, which will help turn around the negative balance in bilateral trade (Greek exports to India are less than 10% of imports). In addition, the Forum can help both Greek and Indian outward-looking dynamic businesses to network in their respective target markets, identify business opportunities and seek appropriate partners. At the same time the Forum can deal with and seek solutions for issues such as the protection of intellectual property rights, the simplification and enforcement of legislation in all regions of the country, the wider deregulation and facilitation of trade with the reduction of import duties and the streamlining of procedures for foreign investors.
In addressing the two business fora in Mumbai and New Delhi, Dr. Lavidas stressed the importance of the growth rate of the Indian economy (exceeding 8.5%), the competitive production costs, the highly educated and trained workforce, the business and trade culture of India as well as its achievements in science, technology and innovation.
The purchasing power increase of an important part of the population and its emerging attraction to “western” products is a development that should not go unnoticed, while the prospect of forging alliances to undertake joint actions in other Asian countries is another interesting possibility.
The international community, continued Dr. Lavidas, turns its eyes more and more to India, in the realization that in the next decades India will rise among the top three global economic powers.
Dr. Lavidas also referred to the European identity of Greece, its advantageous geopolitical position -which constitutes a bridge between the economies and the cultures of the West and the East- the traditionally friendly relations with the Arab world and the Greek flair for enterprise. In concluding, he invited Indian businessmen not to consider Greece exclusively in terms of its small market of 11 million consumers but as a country with strong infrastructure, dynamic and flexible businesses, growth potential and development prospects.