By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editors Joy Cho, Kevin Lee
Chairman Sachin Satpute of the Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ICCK) said, “Our members have been steadily growing with the membership base of around 65, and we help to connect Korean and Indian businesses to explore mutually beneficial opportunities.”
Speaking with The Korea Post media, owner of 3 English and 2 Korean-language media for the past 36 years, Chairman Satpute covered a wide range of topics interesting to the entire population of the world as well as 50 million in Korea and nearly 1.4 billion in India (Wikipedia).
Asked to introduce the major activities of the Chamber, Chairman Satpute said (1) We facilitate B2B and G2B meetings, (2) take lead in organizing investor camps in India, (3) help Korean businesses get first hand feel of the investment environment and support systems in India, (4) organize Speakers forum and seminars, and (5) in association with Embassy of India, we also support cultural events.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
Question: Nowadays, commercial and economic cooperation is very important between the countries. Who are the major Korean companies actively engaged in bilateral economic cooperation? And who are the major companies of India in Korea?
Answer: Yes, India-Republic of Korea relations have made great strides in recent years and has become multifaceted, spurred by a significant convergence of interests, mutual goodwill and high-level exchanges. The ever-expanding canvas of their economic partnership has led to the strengthening of cooperation in sectors such as energy, electronics and shipbuilding.
In 2019, Prime Minister of India inaugurated the ‘India-Korea Startup Hub’ to increase cooperation in fields of research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Six MOU’s were also signed between the two nations to strengthen collaboration between their law enforcement agencies and to promote bilateral cooperation in road and transport infrastructure development.
The trade and economic relations between India and Republic of Korea (Korea) have gathered momentum in recent years with annual bilateral trade reaching $21.5 billion in 2018, crossing $20 billion mark for the first time. Bilateral trade in Jan-Nov 2019, the latest data as of December 2019, recorded $19.05 billion. The bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CEPA), set in place since 2010, has spurred the trade and investments both ways. In 2018, Korea’s investment to India crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time, recording $1.053 billion. Korea’s total FDI to India up to September 2019 stands at $6.29 billion. Investments from India to Korea are to the tune of approx. $3 billion led by Tata Daewoo, Ssangyong and Novelis. Other Indian companies present in India include IT majors, The State Bank of India opened a branch in Seoul on 13th Jan 2016 to provide wide range of services including loan services and project financing for Korean and Indian companies.
Q: What is the present volume of commercial trade, its outlook in the next 12 months? What products and services of India are most welcome in Korea. And, vice versa, what Korean products and services are popular in India?
A: India’s share in Korea’s global trade was 1.89% in 2018, India’s contribution in Korea’s global imports increased from 0.78% in 2001 to 1.10% in 2018. India is Korea’s 20th biggest source for imports and 7th biggest export market as of 2018.
Major items of India’s export to Korea are mineral fuels / oil distillates (mainly naphtha), cereals, iron and steel. Basic materials comprise the bulk of our exports, around 74% of total exports.
Naphtha has emerged as the most important item of India’s export to Korea commanding 21 % in 2015, 23.9% in 2016 and 21.2% in 2017. As of December 2018, among the top 10 items importing from India, mineral fuels, mineral oils, bituminous substances, mineral waxes (HS Code: 27) increased 22.3% to 1,282 million, sharing 21.8% of the total imports. Import of aluminium and articles thereof (HS Code: 76) also increased 6.5% and marked $904 million. Organic chemicals increased by 29% and recorded to $594 million. Iron and steel (HS code: 72) also rose 22% to $447 million. Cotton (HS Code: 52) also recorded growth of 44.1% to $269 million.
Korea’s main exports to India are automobile parts, telecommunication equipment, hot rolled iron products, petroleum refined products, base lubricating oils, nuclear reactors, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery & parts and iron & steel products. Among the top ten items exporting to India, as of December 2018, Electrical machinery and etc. (HS Code: 85) showed downturn of -16.6% year-on-year, amounting to $ 2,578 million and shared 16.5% of the total exports. Iron and Steel (HS code: 72) increased 23.7 % to $2,503 million. Nuclear reactors, boilers, etc. (HS Code: 84) gained 46.8% and marked $2,439 million. Plastic articles thereof (HS Code: 39) gained 24.7%, amounting to $1,740 million. Organic chemicals (HS code: 29) showed 13.2% growth to $1,056 million.
Q: What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?
A: South Korea is a leader in innovation and Technology. India, with its large and young population, offers many opportunities. Korean companies have already invested in manufacturing of Automotive, Consumer appliances and other engineering products. I would like Korean companies to invest in R&D and innovation activities. India is becoming R&D and Technology hub for many global companies. Other areas that offer opportunities are financial services, health & medicine and entertainment.
Indian companies also have invested in Korea mainly in the automotive, metals and engineering industry. Surprisingly, we see much lower presence of Indian software giants in Korea. Also, there is a big opportunity for cultural exchange between two countries which can open door for investment in the entertainment segment.
There is one segment that has not been fully explored by both the countries is the education and research work. English speaking Indian educational system can attract Koreans and at the same time higher education and quality research work opportunities can attract Indian students to Korea
Q: As the Chairman of the Indian Chamber of Commerce Korea, please introduce yourself fully together with the activities of your Chamber.
A: I am Sachin Satpute, Chairman ICCK (Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea). I am currently working with Novelis Asia as President and business head for Asia-Pacific region.
Novelis, is the world’s largest Aluminum rolling and recycling company with Global HQ in Atlanta US and Asia-Pacific HQ in Seoul, South Korea. We use 65% of our total material inputs in the recycled form and we have Asia’s largest aluminium recycling facility in Yeongju, Korea.
At Novelis, we produce high value added rolled products for packaging, automotive, electronics and aerospace industry. Novelis is a part of India’s Aditya Birla Group.
Novelis has invested over USD 1 billion in Korea and we have two manufacturing units located in YeongJu and Ulsan. I have stayed with my family in Korea totally over eight years in two stints and we really enjoy staying in this wonderful country.
Regarding Indian Chamber of Commerce in Korea (ICCK), it is now 11 years young and it has steadily growing membership base of around 65 members. We help to connect Korean and Indian businesses to explore mutually beneficial opportunities. To highlight ICCK’s efforts:
--We facilitate B2B and G2B meetings. The government delegates from various Indian states have visited Korea and we have arranged meetings with Korean businesses
--CCK takes lead in organizing investor camps in India. Korean businesses can get first hand feel of the investment environment and support systems in India.
--ICCK organizes Speakers forum and seminars that help networking and knowledge sharing.
--In association with Embassy of India, we support cultural events.
ICCK will continue to play a vital role in the economic development and trade promotion between the two countries - Korea and India. There is a growing interest between the business communities and I hope we will continue to see growing trade and investment between the two countries
Q: Please introduce the government minister in charge of commerce and industry in your country.
A: Mr. Piyush Goyal (55) is the Minister of Commerce & Industry and Minister of Railways in the Government of India.
He is a Member of the Upper House of the Parliament of India (Rajya Sabha), and the Deputy Leader of Rajya Sabha. He was earlier the Minister of Railways and Coal (2017-19). He has also held additional charge of Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs twice in 2018 and 2019. Earlier he was Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy (2014-2017), and Mines (2016-17).
Mr. Goyal’s tenure has seen Indian Railways achieve its best ever safety record in 2018-19. This was achieved through holistic measures such as elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs) from the broad gauge network, production of safer coaches etc. Additionally, Mr. Goyal oversaw the launch of the first indigenous semi-high speed train Vande Bharat Express between Delhi and Varanasi.
During his 35 yearlong political career, Mr. Goyal has held several important positions at different levels in the world’s largest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is in its National Executive. He has been the National Treasurer of the Party. In the 2019 Indian General Elections, he was a member of the Manifesto and Publicity Committees. He also headed the BJP’s Information Communication Campaign Committee for the Indian General Elections 2014.
Mr. Goyal has had a brilliant academic record – all-India second rank holder Chartered Accountant and second rank holder in Law in Mumbai University. He was a well-known investment banker and has advised top corporate on management strategy and growth. He also served on the Board of India’s largest commercial bank, the State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda. He was also nominated by the Government of India to the Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers in 2002.
Q: Who is responsible in the non-governmental sector in India for the promotion of cooperation in the commercial and economic cooperation with Korea? Please elaborate on him/her.
A: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) works to create and sustain an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India, partnering industry and government alike through advisory and consultative processes. CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry led and industry managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process. Founded over 114 years ago, it is India’s premier business association, with a direct membership of over 7500 organizations from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 83,000 companies from around 380 national and regional sectoral associations.
CII catalyses change by working closely with government on policy issues, enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and expanding business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and global linkages. It also provides a platform for sectoral consensus building and networking. Major emphasis is laid on projecting a positive image of business, assisting industry to identify and execute corporate citizenship programs. Partnerships with over 120 NGOs across the country carry forward our initiatives in integrated and inclusive development, which include sustainability health, education, livelihood, diversity management, skill development and water, to name a few. With 63 offices in India, 8 overseas in Australia, Austria, China, France, Japan, Singapore, UK, USA and institutional partnerships with 271 counterpart organizations in 100 countries, CII serves as a reference point for Indian industry and the international business community.
Q: Korean people, especially the up-and-coming Korean businessmen need rest and recuperation. What are your tourist attractions?
A: Koreans are big travelers and one of the high traveling communities in the world. More than half of the country’s population equivalent travels to various destinations of the world. With rising middle class, Indians are also fast catching up as world travelers. Unfortunately, both Korea and India have failed to attract large tourists from each other’s soil.
India, encircled by spiritual aura, offers travel experience of rich cultural heritage. India is a land of Buddha’s origin and Koreans can enjoy cultural tour of many places related to Buddhism.
India’s diverse religious landscape also offers destinations related other religions as well. Architecturally rich North India welcomes tourists across the world with attractions like Taj Mahal, Palaces and Temples. Southern and Western Indian states like Kerala and Goa have beautiful coast line and offer variety of sea side resorts for rest and recuperation. India is home to largest population of tigers, Asiatic lions and elephants. Many national parks in India offer unique experience.
Q: What are the most important festive days in your country? Please elaborate.
A: India is a country with rich culture and diversity. The country has various provinces and has diverse cultures but united by its festivals. Each state of India celebrates at least one festival from where the reason to celebrate might have originated from historically. Being a part of the festivals in India brings you closer to understand the rich tradition that they have been following for generations.
India is the only country that has numerous festivals based on its religion, Community, and state, and all the festivals in India are celebrated with so much excitement and energy like every day is a new celebration in India. You will enjoy every part of India during your festive excursion. Main Important Festivals are Diwali, Makar Sankranti, Holi, Ganeshotsav, Navratri, Lohri, Pongal, Janmashtami, Ramadan.
About Chairman Satpute of ICCK:
Sachin Satpute is the president of Novelis Asia.
Novelis is the leading producer of flat-rolled aluminum products and the world’s largest recycler of aluminium.
Since 1st June 2016, in this role, he is responsible for leading the overall business strategy and P&L of Novelis’ Asia-Pacific business, which includes sales to the automotive, beverage can and specialty product markets. He also has oversight responsibilities with Ulsan Aluminum, a joint venture between Novelis Korea and Kobe Steel, Japan.
Prior to being named to this position in June 2016, Sachin served as Chief Marketing Officer, Hindalco Industries Limited.
Before that, he held roles of increasing responsibility within Novelis, including Director, Business Development &Strategy for Novelis Asia; Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Technical Services for Novelis Asia; and Managing Director of Aluminium Company of Malaysia Berhad (ALCOM).
Sachin has nearly 30 years of experience in the aluminium industry, having started his career at INDAL, which was a subsidiary of ALCAN, Canada.
Sachin holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Pune University and MBA in Marketing from Mumbai University.
He is a graduate of Novelis’ inaugural Global Leadership Program and was named an Aditya Birla Fellow.
He is avid sports lover having played competitive Cricket and Table tennis. His other interests include reading, traveling and music.