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Japan trade body thumbs up PM Gati Shakti infra move

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tokyo

PM Gati Shakti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious multi-trillion infrastructure project focusing on easing logistics will be a game changer for businesses and will attract foreign investments, Kazuya Nakajo, Executive Vice President, Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) said.

Nakajo, who was heading JETRO’s India arm between 2016 and 2019, said that once the project is complete, Japanese automobile and electronics companies, which are also into exports, will significantly benefit as shipping their goods from inland areas such as Haryana to the ports in Gujarat or Maharashtra will become “much easier and cost effective.”

Speaking to India Narrative, he also said that several Japanese companies wishing to enter India are looking to take the joint venture route to enter the Indian market as Tokyo looks to boost its investments in the country. “We may see many more joint ventures between Japanese and Indian companies. The investment amount will be sizeable and JVs provide a ready platform for Japanese companies to start operations in India,” Nakajo said, adding that going ahead the focus for Japanese companies will be on new economy including the digital pie. Until now, the maximum chunk of Japanese investments in India is confined to the automobile and electronics sectors.

The Union Budget this year primarily laid emphasis on economic growth and recovery through enhancing productivity and the multi-trillion PM Gati Shakti plan.

The infrastructure programme launched exactly a year ago by Modi has caught the attention of several global investors especially after Apple’s decision to start manufacturing iPhone 14 in India. Not just Japanese companies but a host of multinational companies from across the globe are also monitoring the progress of the Gati Shakti as the government resets its focus on reviving economic growth.

Nakajo added that the successful implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) has also been a game changer. “Most Japanese companies in India – say for example—Maruti Suzuki – rely on a dealership model..now to set up and operate dealers in various states earlier was not easy but now with GST, the process has got simpler,” he said.

Earlier this year, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced an investment plan of Rs 3,20,000 crore (5 trillion yen) in India in the next five years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Japan to attend the QUAD summit, also held a meeting with top 30 CEOs of Japanese companies. “Make in India for the World” –was Modi’s message to the Japanese business community.

Also read: India and Japan should now have more people-to-people exchanges: Jetro