Scenic country of Iceland could be an exciting destination for Indian business. With highly educated manpower, expertise in renewable energy and a low Corporate Tax of about 20 per cent, this beautiful Nordic Country is ideally suitable for a range of new business opportunities.
Before the crash of 2008-09 due to global financial crisis, Iceland was one of the fastest growing economies in Europe. Apart from its traditional expertise in fisheries, in recent years, this scenic country has expanded its economic and technological base to newer areas like renewable energy, biotechnology and IT.
India and Iceland have identified areas like Geo-thermal energy, IT and pharmaceuticals along with respective traditional strengths like fisheries and consumer goods as potential areas for boosting bilateral trade ties. President Abdul Kalam’s path-breaking visit in 2005 also helped to identify potential areas for bilateral business. Since then, a number of high profile visits from both the countries have helped to take the business agenda forward. Opening of Icelandic Embassy in
New Delhi in 2005 and Indian Embassy in Iceland in 2008 also helped furthering trade ties between the two countries. Apart from cultural and scientific agreements, India has signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty and Bilateral investment Promotion Agreement with the Nordic Country. This country of exotic natural beauty is known all over the world as a major tourist destination. Already a number of Indian movies have been shot in Iceland and Iceland as a far out destination is fast becoming a coveted stop for well-heeled Indian tourists.
Total bilateral trade is still at a low level but has been rising for the last few years. In 2007, total trade between the two countries stood at US$ 27.7 million; in 2010 it has climbed to US$ 44 million. Major items of import from Iceland are fish products with Cod being the most prominent item. India on the other hand mainly exports consumer goods and pharmaceuticals to Iceland.
The Icelandic-Indian Trade Council was officially founded in 2005. The main objective of the Trade Council is to promote and establish business and commercial links between Iceland and India. Founding members of the Icelandic - Indian Trade Council are about 20 companies in various sectors of industries. They cover areas where there are great potentials in improving business relations between the countries, such as pharmaceuticals, tourism, power intensive projects and software. At present, TCS is the only Indian company present in Iceland so far. But Icelandic investments in India have been rising steadily – prominent among them are Actavis (pharmaceuticals), Greenline and EC Software (IT), Kaldara (turbines), Verkis (Hydro power) etc. India and Iceland are also collaborating with each in the field of Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Cells under the auspices of International Partnership for Hydrogen Economy.
Article was published in The Financial Express.