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India Offers Slovenian Companies Opportunities for Cooperation

Ljubljana, 14 April (STA) - India offers many opportunities for increasing economic cooperation with Slovenia, especially in view of its plans to invest in power plants, transport infrastructure and telecommunications, concluded speakers at the Ljubljana conference on economic cooperation between Slovenia and India on Wednesday.

According to Samo Hribar Milic, director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), further opportunities for Slovenian companies in India lie in industry, logistics, IT, construction, education, science and R&D.

India plans to invest US$ 514bn in infrastructure in the 2007-2012 period, representatives of the country's Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a video conference.

Most of the money will be spent on power plants, roads, railways, ports and airports.

US$ 166bn will be earmarked for increasing electricity output from 147,000 MW to 200,000 MW, and India will offer private investors tax-exempt status for ten years.

A total of US$ 78bn will need to be invested in roads, a third of which is expected to come from private investors.

India expect further direct foreign investment in car industry and telecommunications, as the number of users is increasing by 14 million every month.

The Indian economy is mostly driven by consumption and not export like several other Asian countries, Indian Ambassador to Slovenia Villur S. Seshadri pointed out, adding that the middle class in India is expanding and is expected to reach 20% of the population in 2015 and as much as 41% in 2025.

According to GZS, trade between India and Slovenia is increasing and in the first 11 months of 2009 rose year-on-year from EUR 124.9m to EUR 177.8m, with exports to India growing from EUR 43.6m to EUR 65.4m and imports from EUR 81.4m to EUR 112.5m.

Another option for increasing cooperation is in linking ports in India to Slovenia's Port of Koper, especially in view of the planned expansion of the Port of Koper and modernisation of Slovenian railways, noted Seshadri and explained that the port could serve as an entry point for trade with the entire region.

One of the chances to boost cooperation will be in autumn, when Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor plans to visit India, accompanied by a business delegation, said Foreign Ministry state secretary Dragoljuba Bencina.

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