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A century of business partnership between India and Germany

The Indo-German Chamber of Commerce(IGCC) has existed almost from the very beginnings of Germany’s trade with post-independence India. The Chamber has played an exemplary role in promoting and shaping business relations between the two countries. Business World speaks to Dirk Matter, Director, of the IGCC in Duesseldorf. Excerpts:

PKB: Can you share something about the history and development of the IGCC?

DM: The IGCC was founded in 1956 in Mumbai, making us the first bilateral German Chamber of Commerce in Asia, some years before Japan and other countries.

Some Germany firms have a relationship spanning over 100 years with India. For example, Krupp had sold locomotives over a hundred years ago, Bayer has been in India for over a century and bought natural dye in those days. Siemens had laid telegraph lines from Kolkata to London in 1875 and it was the Germans who built the famoussteel plantin Rourkela.

IGCC’s most popular service is business partner search. In the last eight years we have set-up about 200 companies for German enterprises in India. Closely connected with company formation is HR recruitment; when an SME has a small production or distribution subsidiary,an Indian managerisemployed.

We have sponsored trade fairs and the Indo-German Training Center offers dual education for Indian postgraduates in business administration.

PKB: In your 23 years of experience at the IGCC what impressions have you gathered of doing business in India?

DM: The Indian market is an interesting market where industry sectors are still being built—new factories for the car industry and even steel plants—something which is not happening in Germany any more. But there are many companies in Germany that have good expertise in these sectors.

Though India retains the image of a low cost country,
this is no longer true especially in real estate and energy. Wages are still low, but that only for unskilled workers; salaries of highly qualified people have risen significantly in the last few years.The business mentality is different and both sides sometimes find it difficult. We, as a Chamber, try to give a little support in that we offer intercultural training not just to the Germans but also the Indians.

PKB: What’s your vision of the future?

DM: We hope that economic growth will increase again because only that can guarantee that the situation for people will improve. We hope that Mr. Modi’s visit to the HanoverTrade Fair will be useful in putting India in focus in the German media which will help attract more trade with India. The substantial barriers for foreign investors need to be reduced and this will lead to more job creation.This is my great vision for the future.

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