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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     October 4,  2016  

Access to financing available for Brunei-India traders

THE Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of India is primarily focused on helping Indian companies to go abroad but there are possibilities for Bruneian companies to tap into the financing that the Ex-Im bank can provide.

The bank is also familiar with the ASEAN region and has invested in development projects led by Indian companies.

Here, The Brunei Times business reporter Leo Kasim speaks to Nirmit Ved, deputy general manager at the Ex-Im Bank of India, on opportunities for Bruneian companies and its growing role in the region.

Does the Ex-Im Bank of India offer opportunities for companies from abroad?

Since we are an Export-Import bank, we are also encouraging Brunei companies to invest in India but our main focus is to help Indian companies to integrate into the global business. Our main objective is to help Indian companies go to overseas and export to these markets by way of trading of goods and services or investments, acquisitions, joint ventures or subsidiaries.

The financing that we offer is to Indian companies who are export abroad. But if Indian companies are investing here (Brunei) or get into joint ventures or are opening subsidiaries, then we can also finance those. If a Bruneian company is importing from India and want some financial assistance we can also do that.

If an Indian company needs to import raw material from abroad, such as Brunei, the Ex-Im bank also provides financing for that.

Are there specific industries that the bank is focused on financing?

The bank can help finance companies in many sectors apart from some products which are in the ‘negative’ list of the Indian government and that includes alcohol. Apart from that, companies that are dealing in any products can get financing because there are no sectoral restrictions apart from the what has been stated.

So Bruneian companies that want to invest in India in areas such as IT, agriculture or manufacturing can also have access to financing.

Brunei can be a good manufacturing base and can look at some agro processing here. Of course, Brunei can also look into other anciliary activities in the petrochemicals sector which the country is already doing so. Perhaps, Brunei can look into four or five majors where it feels that Indian investment can come into and then work on those sectors.

Brunei is going to be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and by having Indian companies investing in Brunei, they will have access to a lot of opportunities in exporting that are manufactured in Brunei to the TPP countries.

That is a vast area because the total trade of TPP countries is almost 40 per cent of global trade once the agreement is in effect so that it is important (for Indian companies) to look at Brunei as an investment destination

What is the level of Ex-Im Bank involvement in the region?

Our involvement is high in ASEAN particularly in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV). The bank is under the Ministry of Commerce of India which facilitates the Indian government’s investment in the region under the ‘Look East’ policy and its follow up called ‘Act East’.

So we are developing a framework where we can facilitate our investments made into the CLMV countries. This is a focus area for India in ASEAN at the moment. This is because the CLMV countries are important to the ASEAN community and also with the TPP coming in.

Indian companies are going into CLMV and developing the infrastrucutre which has seen much improvement over the years. The Ex-Im bank is willing to support projects which are in these countries. In fact, the bank is willing to support projects in other countries and region.

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