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Address by His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias at the meeting with the Indian and Spanish Chambers of Commerce

India(Nueva Delhi), 01.10.1997

I

should first like to express my satisfaction for having the honor of chairing this event and backing with my presence the firm will to broaden and deepen the existing co-operation between our two countries.

This meeting is, no doubt, an ideal forum for stressing it. With their excellent mutual relations, the Indian Federation of Chambers of Commerce and the Spanish Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Shipping have laid the foundations for the proper attainment of their goals, which have revitalised and consolidated in the recent meetings of the joint Spanish-Indian Committee, now in its fourteenth year of existence.

The Expotecnia we have opened this morning is in my view the best scenario for it, and the most irrefutable demonstration of the great confidence that Spanish public and private sector businessmen have in this great nation.

I believe the time has come for us to join forces to forge and consolidate stable trade links in this region of Asia, in which Spain wishes to secure an active presence, in line with the development of this area and with the maturity attained by Spanish enterprises in their process of internationalisation.

India opens up a broad horizon before us and a series of opportunities for enriching and increasing our trade and investments, which have not yet reached the levels that correspond to the potential of economic agents of both countries nor have they achieved the mutually beneficial effects that both parties can hope for as a result of their activity.

We face a number of favourable prospects which have not come about by chance or solely from good wishes ; rather, they are the result of the efforts made and the economic policies promoted by both our countries in recent years.

Indeed, in 1991 India embarked on an ambitious plan for reform and deregulation. The Common Economic Program recently approved by the Indian government reaffirms its commitment to make headway in this process, which will expectedly enable India to achieve rapid development and beneficial integration into the global economy. One of the crucial aspects of the reform, and perhaps the one which is of greatest interest to Spanish companies, concerns the opening up of the Indian economy -its liberalization- through important measures to deregulate foreign trade and provide with greater facilities for foreign investment.

Spain undertook a similar process, which was given a decisive boost in 1986 when we joined the European Union, and which has oriented our companies toward a search for diversification in international markets and a constant improvement in the quality and price of their products.

At this very moment, Spain is in a good position to participate actively in the third phase of Economic and Monetary Union, which is an essential step for the realisation of the European Single Market.

Contrary to some opinions of that time through a scrupulous fulfilment of the conditions required to join this process, Spain opened up a horizon of new and solid prospects for its foreign trade, not only within the Community borders but also in its relations with the rest of the world. Spain does not want a fortress-Europe (Bottom-live).

This is, no doubt, the most appropriate framework for establishing new channels for co-operation which, in the sphere of relations between Spain and India, will most surely be reinforced through a series of bilateral measures and policies. Among these I wish to stress the agreement on the promotion and protection of investments, signed yesterday by our Vicepresident, present here with us after lengthy, but fruitful negotiations.

It is you our indian conterparts who are our main asset in this undertaking. The history of India is an example of what your people's imagination and effort are capable of achieving. Over the centuries, and especially in recent years, we Spaniards have also succeeded in overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles with a firm will and confidence in our possibilities.

Finally on congratulating you for the noble spirit with which you strive ahead in your commitment  and which will give rise to so many benefits for both our countries; I sincerely hope that the result of your work achieves the success it deserves and which we all, and myself first and foremost, wish you dearly.

I would not want to forget a word of thanks for your kind references to my family ties with this great country and also the historic references of which i have leaved something new of our common heritage that is most useful for understanding this new endearon.

Thank you.

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