The Bhutan and Bengal chambers of commerce signed a MoU towards this effect

FDI: If the visit by the delegation from Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, India was any indication of more foreign investment in the country, then education, hospitality, information technology, agri-business and consulting are few areas of interest to India.

The presidents of both the Bhutan and Bengal chambers of commerce and industry signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on May 13.

The Bengal chamber’s president, Dr Alok Roy, said about 14 potential investors have already shown interest in Bhutan during the two-day visit. “We’re not looking at Bhutan as a consumer market, but want to use Bhutan to produce something that the world doesn’t have,” he said.

Even with a suitable environment, huge English-speaking workforce, political stability and good FDI policy, he said that the country still has to give more fiscal incentives.

Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president, Ugen Tshechup Dorji, said that investment need not heed tax incentives.  For instance, he said, in absence of labour union and political disturbances, factories would function smoothly.

He said Bhutan would in fact function as a gateway to huge market in the region.

George Telegraph group, India has already interacted with three potential Bhutanese partners.

Its vice president, Subrata Dutta, said the company was interested in setting up a vocational institute to provide hands-on skills in the field of electronic, computer hardware, air-conditioner and refrigerator repair, among others. “Bhutanese would be trained in Bhutan and employed in India, where there’s a huge demand,” he said.

Another Indian educational institute, Genesis, has also shown interest to invest in Bhutan.

SREI infrastructure Finance limited, India is also interested in developing the special economic zones (SEZ) and industrial parks.  Its vice president, Dhruv Bhalla, said the company had the experience of building several economic zones in India.  Bhutan’s SEZs, he said, being close to India, had huge advantage of catering to market in neighbouring states.

As a part of corporate social responsibility, he said the company had expressed its interest to assist the government in developing the G2C services for free.  SREI developed the G2C service in India.

Meanwhile, the MoU states that both the chambers would assist the enterprises of other country to invest jointly in their respective countries.  Should need arise, the MoU also has the provision where a joint task force could carry out studies.

The MoU also anticipates immense possibility of setting up industries under joint venture.

By Tshering Dorji