Trade Talk

In 20-30 years, India will be the biggest market for many of our companies

January 2014
Geoffrey van Leeuwen, Consul General, Consulate General of the Kingdom of The Netherlands

Since the Dutch East India Company was established in 1602,  the Dutch have been major international traders. "Our trade relations with India started nearly 400 years ago when we were trading spices here in 13 different settlements," says Geoffrey van Leeuwen, the new Consul General of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Today, bilateral relations between India and The Netherlands have expanded to various areas, infrastructure and transport being key areas of focus. van Leeuwen has worked at the Ministry level for the past 16 years, of which he has been in Southeast Asia for nine. His first posting was in Vietnam to handle trade and then alternate postings at the Ministry, and lately postings in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He highlights the potential of Dutch firms to advance India's infrastructure and Indian expertise that can benefit his Kingdom and India in conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.

What emphasis does The Netherlands place on India as a trade partner?
We have targeted four countries in the world—China, India, Brazil and Russia—as major areas for growth. Netherlands is the fourth largest investor in India and India's sixth most important trade partner. India has been one of our oldest markets and roughly about 300 Dutch companies are active here. Most of our big MNCs have been here for over a century—Royal Dutch Shell, Philips, Unilever, AKZO Nobel, DSM, etc—creating new jobs every year.

Therefore, India is not a new market and yet we see huge scope for growth. For instance, despite the financial unrest this summer, we sent a big trade mission to India. Headlines in Holland went, "Despite crisis, Dutch companies still optimistic about India" This is because my government and our companies have a long-term approach. We are the sixteen biggest economy in the world and earn 70 per cent of our capital from outside the country. Our activities our diverse: for instance Philips is famous here for household products, but also a global leader in the medical field. Philips has set up a medical factory in Pune and are now exporting from Pune to other markets. In the next 20-30 years, with growth in population and rising income level, India will be, without doubt, the biggest market for many of our companies.

What is the current nature of the engagement between India and The Netherlands in the building, construction or infrastructure sector?
We have identified nine sectors where the two countries can work together. Of these, one is infrastructure and another, transport. Infrastructure is one of our major strengths. We are India's gateway to Europe as 20 per cent of all Indian exports to Europe enter the country through The Netherlands' ports and airports.One of our proposals is to reclaim land in an environmental-friendly way. We are experts in land reclamation; Dutch firms have developed the Palm Islands in Dubai. The Netherlands is 70 per cent under sea level. You could use it for example to create an airport it in the sea without harming the environment rather than buying up scarce existing land. Another example, a lot of sea links are made of concrete and most companies are able to construct it. But we have another solution: take sand from the sea and create an artificial link by sand. This way, you are using natural products, and you could create recreational land as well. So, we are actively promoting these ideas but it is obviously upto the the Maharashtra government to decide whether they want use our approach or not.

What is the current status on the alternate location proposed for the Navi Mumbai Airport?
I understand the Navi Mumbai Airport is still on schedule. But simultaneously, I was happy to read, the Maharashtra Government is looking at an alternate plan which involves land reclamation. They have ordered a feasibility study. We think our Dutch plan would be cheaper, environment-friendly, and gives you the possibility of expansion in case the number of passengers and cargo keep increasing as it is expected to do. If the feasibility study is positive and the Maharashtra government is interested, we can go further. But I have to emphasis we are guests in your country and can only propose ideas, ideas to be brought forward in partnership, jointly as governments and together with Indian and Dutch companies. But if it will happen I am sure that it will underline Mumbai's reputation as a forward looking and innovating metropolis.

In infrastructure, you also have a long tradition in modernising ports….
Yes. For instance, if you visit Rotterdam port in The Netherlands, you will realise there are very few people there. Most of the work is computerised. The computer reads the container and puts it on a truck. The truck is also computerised and without a driver heads towards the next location within the harbour. In India, still a lot is manual. Our automated approach could also work in India: it is faster and it guarantees your port customer speedy and timely delivery. This is one area where we see an opportunity and we have the expertise and knowledge. Another area is obviously dredging: we are leading in dredging technology and capabilities, with companies such as Van Oord and Boskalis, and as mentioned in the field of land-reclamation, also to be used for ports.

What are the opportunities for India in The Netherlands?
Today, and India is the fifth biggest investor in Holland. Last year, we had 15 new Indian companies investing in Holland. Now, there are more then 200 active Indian companies in The Netherlands. Tata Steel in IJmuiden rules our steel industry, Tata Consultancy Services is very big in Amsterdam and companies like Infosys, Apollo Tyres in Enschede and other major Indian IT companies have been operating here.  India's resources for engineers seem limitless, and many of them are already working in Holland for Dutch and Indian companies. In short: we hope and expect that Indian investments will continue to grow and more and more Indian companies will find their way to the Netherlands.

Would you like to touch upon any success stories of The Netherlands-based companies operating in India?
One major example is Hindustan Unilever. They have been in India for nearly a century and employing tens of  thousands of people. Their success in India is such that, today, many consumers think it is an Indian company. It has Anglo-Dutch roots but indeed under Indian management for decades, and a major stakeholder in the Indian economy as well as putting corporate social responsibility at its core: a wonderful corporate member of the Indian society, of which we are proud to be associated with. And above all: a beautiful example of successful Indian-Dutch partnership.

A joint economic committee has been recently formed to discuss economic policies between India and The Netherlands. How will this help Indo-Dutch relations?
The goal is to strengthen Indo-Dutch relations. This committee is in its nascent stage and we are yet to decide its members and who often it will meet, etc. It will serve as a platform for the Holland and Indian governments to bring certain issues forward, highlight challenges in trade and derive a more systematic approach towards these.

What are the challenges in our bilateral relations?
Obviously India has a different legal framework and, hence, many Dutch companies find it difficult to adjust. But, we are here to help them and the Indian Government is also supportive. India and Holland are different markets with different backgrounds and history. This is one of the reasons we have formed the joint economic committee—to put these challenges on the agenda and find the best ways to solve them.

Are you eyeing any future collaborations or tie-ups with India?
We have a Dutch model that works in Holland and does work in other countries as well. But it has to be modified as per the needs and wishes of the Indian market. The only way to do this is through partnership. Partnership has been our strength for many years and we are not here for quick sales. We are here to set up a partnership that grows. We do not have a hit-and-run strategy; we are here to stay in good times and in periods of setbacks.

Some Dutch Companies in India
Name of the CompanyActivityYear of Establishment
ABN Amro Business Services India Pvt LtdSenior Project Manager - setting  up ABN AMRO India1920
Abroader Consultancy India Pvt LtdManagement Consultancy2001
Akzo Nobel India Limited Chemical company1984
Badotherm Instruments Holland Private Limited Oil and Gas Instrumentation Products2000
Boskalis Dredging India Pvt. Ltd.International dredging contractors1996
Bricks India (Alvi Real Estate Consultancy Services Pt Ltd)Real Estate Services2008
CB&I Engineering Oil & Gas2011
Conpipe Pipe Systems Ltd.Cement lining of steel pipes for water application2000
C S India Steel Pvt. Ltd.High precision CNC cutting and 3D cold forming of steel plates2008
Danieli Corus India Pvt LtdSteel Industry2007
De Boer Damle (India) Pvt. Ltd.Manufacturer of soft mud brick moulding machines and other brick making machinery / systems12/18/2009
Dutch Business Partners India Pvt. Ltd.Consultancy company engaged into business collaboration between the Netherlands and India. 
Dutch Water Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.Dutch Water Solutions is the sole distributor for Genap Products in India. The main products are water storage system. The company also tries to bring other innovative products in water sector. 2010
Emergya Wind Technology B.V  (EWT)Manufacturer of Direct Drive wind turbines from the capacity of 500 kW - 2 MW2005
Eperium Business Solution India Pvt LtdE-procurement, E-commerce and Multichannel Online Retail Management14 May 2003
Frames Process and Energy Systems India Pvt. Limited Detail design of mechanical, piping, structural, electrical and instrumentation disciplines. Marketing of Frame The Netherlands in India. 2006
General Blade Technology Pvt. Ltd.The Manufacturer Of Wind Mill Rotor Blade Mould Manufacturing, Wind Mill Blade, Rotor Blade, Gas Turbine Rotor Blade, Rotor Blades & Nacelle Covers.2009
GreenFields India FZCManufacturing, construction, installation and development of innovative synthetic turf systems 
Hazira LNG Private Limited; Hazira Port Private LimitedHazira companies own and operate the Hazira LNG Terminal and Port in Hazira (Surat) Gujarat, India. HLPL imports, regasifies and sells liquefied natural gas to customers in the north western region of India. The Hazira LNG Terminal and Port is partnered by Shell Gas B.V and Total Gaz Electricité Holdings France2000
Hindustan Unilever Ltd.  
HTR BV Rubber India Pvt LtdProducer and supplier of products made from rubber and/or plastic foam material. We supply all major A-branded OEM companies like Philips, DAF Trucks (PACCAR), VDL Group, Bosch, John Derre, Caterpillar, Mitsubishi, Webasto, etc.1953
Hubert Enviro Care Systems (P) LtdEnvironmental Management Solution Providers1997
IHC Parts & Services (India) Private LimitedIHC Merwede is focused on the design and construction of specialized vessels and equipment for the dredging, offshore and mining market1943
Indutch Composites Technology Pvt. Ltd.The Company specialized in the design and production of fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) and other composite mouldings to a designer's specifications virtually without restraint with regard to finish, color and shape including processes like Pattern and Tool Making for processes like Contact Moulding, RTM & VRTM, Compression Moulding, Fabrication & Assembly.2011
Indutch Ventures Services Pvt LtdProviding business related services to Dutch companies. Helping them in setting up their business in India. Completing the government formalities, market research, structuring the constitution of the company to suit Indian conditions. Working towards improving the Dutch-Indian corridor2006
ING Investment Management India Private Limitedmutual funds and PMS activity 
ING Vysya Bank Ltd.Banking1930
Kanak Agri-TechTo manufacture and erect greenhouses and polytunnels in India and export them to other countries in the world. Also export allied machines for horticulture and components for polyhouse and polytunnels. 
KPMG India Pvt. Ltd.We provide Audit, Tax, and Advisory services, delivering a globally consistent set of multidisciplinary financial and accounting skills and capabilities based on deep industry knowledge. 
Kusters Engineering India Pvt LtdEngineering Services & Software development11/09/2006
Lemnis Lighting India Pvt Ltd100% subsidiary of Lemnis Lighting BV 
LMC Consultants Pvt. Ltd.Architectural design development for various construction and engineering projects. 
Logic Factory India Pvt. Ltd.The company specialized in Developing Advanced Software Solutions for customers in various industries such as Logistics, Aviation, Manufacturing, and Government.2009
Metaflex Doors India Pvt. LimitedInsulating panels and doors. 
ODS Instrumentation India Pvt. Ltd.Specialized engineering contractor for design, construction and commissioning of field-proven innovative solutions for Custody Transfer Flow Measurement in the worldwide Oil & Gas Industry  
ProClass Technologies Pvt LtdEngineering Designing2004
Rollepaal Engineering India Pvt. Ltd. Product: extrusion equipment for the PVC, PE and PP pipes, supply of engineering products2004
Royal Haskoning DHVConsulting Engineering2005
Schoeller Arca Time Material Handling Solutions Ltd.Returnable Transit Packaging (RTP) & material handling solutions 
Shell Group of Companies in IndiaLNG, chemicals, lubricants, LPG, petrochemicals and solar energy in India.1928
Shell IndiaRoyal Dutch Shell is the largest and most diversified international investor in India's energy sector among all global integrated oil companies with nearly USD 1 billion invested already. It is the only global major to have a fule retail license in India. Besides being a major private sector supplier of crude, products, chemicals and technology to public/private sector oil comoanies, Shell also has key interests in lubricants, bitumen while operating an LNG receiving and re-gasification terminal, as well as a significant Technology center and a financial business services center. Indiahas been a focus country for investments from the global Shell Foundation, which has already spent over USD 10 million to date impacting more than 2 million people.1993
SMIT India Marine Services Pvt. Ltd.Harbour Towage, Terminals, Salvage or Transport & Heavy Lift 
Span Infotech (india) Pvt LtdSoftware servicesJuly 1994
Sun Logistics Freight Consulting; Fleet Owning, Customs’ Clearing & Forwarding, Marine Activitiy. 
TenCate Defense & Tactical  
Thermaflex Insulation Asia Co. Ltd. Deals in Polyolefin Insulation & Pre Insulated Pipes for Hot, Cold and Chilled water distribution 1987 in Thailand; 2011 in India
3D BluePrint India Pvt. Ltd.Architectural design development for various construction and engineering projects.2006
TMF Services India Private LtdAccounting, Legal and HR and Payroll compliance and reporting 
Tolsma Techniek Emmeloord Cold storage machines manufacturers2008
Trafigura India Pvt. Ltd.Oil & Gas 
Transport Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.Road transportation solutions & service provider 
Van Boxsel Engineering Pvt. LtdVan Boxsel Engineering Pvt. Ltd. is a structural engineering consultancy company with professionals from India and Europe. Our team of dedicated engineers, draughtsmen and project managers has a vast experience in structural design and detailing of building structures. We work with the latest available technologies which enables us to quickly optimize the structural design.
    Van Boxsel Engineering Pvt. Ltd. caters to both the international and the Indian market. For the international market we serve as a global engineering outsourcing centre. For the Indian market we work as structural design consultant and provide our consultancy services to architects, builders and real estate developers.
Vanderlande Industries Software Pvt. Ltd.Automated material handling systems and services 
Van Oord India Pvt LtdDredging and Marine Works1909
Vinconnect Technology ServicesThe Company provides all kind of IT and IT related and consulting services. The focus is especially on North American and European companies of medium size.2012
VitalHealth Software India Pvt Ltd 100% subsidiary
YOB India Pvt LtdSoftware development  & Finance Process Activity2010

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