The current economic situation is still better in India than in most developed nations and this is helping to keep interest in India unchanged, says Netherlands minister Lilianne Ploumen.
Ploumen, minister of foreign trade and development cooperation, Netherlands, strongly asserted that despite the gloomy economic situation worldwide, ''the economic situation is still better in India than in most of the developed nations.''
In a meeting with the union minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma in New Delhi today, the Netherlands minister said the ''recent downturn has not reduced the interest of Netherlands in India.''
Ploumen is in India heading a 40-strong delegation of Dutch entrepreneurs to further boost trade ties between the two nations.
India and Netherlands have, meanwhile, agreed to set up a joint economic and trade committee (JETC), which will provide a platform for both sides to engage on investment and trade issues.
Sharma, meanwhile, suggested the setting up of a structured mechanism for institutional interaction, which should ''eventually be upgraded to the level of joint economic council.
Sharma suggested India-Netherlands cooperation in areas like water management, agro processing, urban infrastructure, preparation of sports infrastructure, waste management and sanitation.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Ploumen said that agriculture and healthcare are the key areas of cooperation between the two nations. Apart from it, she said, ''urban planning, infrastructure works, water management, which we are very famous for, are the areas where we want further cooperation.''
On the issue of the broader India-European Union trade and investment agreement, Sharma said, ''We have a very good agreement on the table.''
He, however, stressed the need to embrace incremental approach towards trade liberalisation.
Ploumen said ''the Netherlands is a country that really relies on free trade and free trade agreements. And as a country, we are very much looking forward to finalise free trade agreement between the EU and India and to make sure that we can all address those issues.''
Both the leaders also discussed matters related to food security. He also stressed the need for internal balance with regard to trade facilitation proposals.
Netherlands is India's fourth largest trading partner in Europe. India's exports to the Netherlands stood at $10 billion in 2012, while imports were valued at $2.63 billion during the year.
Netherlands is also the sixth-largest investor in terms of FDI inflows into India with FDI flow of around $9.37 billion, which is 4.72 per cent of total FDI inflows into India during the period April 2000 to June 2013, as per official data.