Belgian deputy prime minister Didier Renders is in India to scout for opportunities to invest, especially in the infrastructure sector. In an interview with Amiti Sen, Renders talks about importance of a conducive investment climate, cooperation in retrieval of black money and need to ease taxation laws. Excerpts.
It is true that till now we have had a huge trade in diamonds, but we are trying to enhance investments in other sectors. We are already into some activities in infrastructure sector like ports and highways. And there are some investments in manufacturing too. But we will try to do more.
Yes. Other countries (in Europe) have already expressed concern. But I have told (Anand Sharma) that we will follow the process in Parliament.
Are you hoping for a dilution?
India is a huge democracy and there is always healthy discussion. I hope the country will implement a good regulation.
How do Belgian companies view India as an investment destination?
They are watching. We are in talks with Indian authorities about Belgian company Solvay that wants to extend its activities in chemical products. If the decision making process for clearance is fast, others too will get attracted...At the moment we have some concerns, but we will wait.
Last year, Belgium agreed to share information on black money stashed away by diamond traders. What is the progress?
We have tried to enhance collaboration and are trying to sign an agreement to exchange more information with India on the matter.
In the long term, we need to stabilise the situation and to provide a very stable environment for investors in Europe. If you come to Belgium with investments from India, it is now possible to work in countries such as Netherlands, Germany and France in the same currency without exchange risk. That is real progress. We have also put tax incentives in force last year. In Belgium you can invest and collect profits and come back to India without any taxation.We are also trying to bring about changes in the double taxation avoidance agreement or DTAA that exists between the two countries.