reland-wants-to-increase-bilateral-trade-with-IndiaIreland is looking at increasing bilateral trade with India and attracting more investments from science and technology, agrotech industries, pharma and IT industries.

Speaking on the sidelines of an interactive seminar organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce, Kenneth Thompson, ambassador of Ireland in India said, “Our bilateral trade with India is not very impressive since it is only limited to services and merchandise largely. We are anticipating greater growth this year, more than 25 per cent despite the economic downturn. We are aware of India’s protectionism stance but still have a tremendous sense of dedication and confidence in the potential of India and are open to doing free trade with India.”

The bilateral trade in 2007 was 447.3 million euro, almost a 13 per cent rise over the previous year. Out of the 447.3 million euro. India’s exports were 279.8 million euro, 62.5 per cent of the total bilateral trade and India’s import was 167.5 million euro, 37.5 per cent of the total bilateral trade.

While India exports items like yarn, garments, clothing, medical and pharma products to Ireland, it imports only pharma and merchandise, a meager amount.

“We would like to expand the items of bilateral trade with India,” Thompson said.

In order to attract more investments from India, Ireland has even set up an investment centre in Mumbai recently.

“We would continue with our low corporate tax rate structure beside other subsidies to attract more investments, we feel that the less tax we have on individuals and companies the more the companies will spend on infrastructure and R&D,” he mentioned.

Corporate tax in Ireland is only 12.5 per cent and personal income tax starts at 30 per cent, second lowest in the whole of EU.

Lots of Indian companies like Wockhardt, Reliance Life Sciences and many in the IT field have evinced interest in setting up base in Ireland. "We are looking forward to greater participation," he added.

Exports are the backbone of the economy contributing almost 80 per cent of Ireland’s GDP. Thompson pointed out that because of the economic meltdown Ireland’s economy had been affected but this would not prompt the government to pump artifical economic stimulus packages.

Many Irish universities have also evinced interest in setting up their base in India. “I understand that the Indian law has some prohibitions which is expected to be relaxed. We are looking at developing relations with your institutions in West Bengal,” said Thompson.

Ireland with a population of 4.4 million and a GDP growth at 5.3 per cent has a per capita income of $44,415.