The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha means business in Italy

Calcutta, June 8: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will fly tomorrow for Italy on his second foreign trip to woo investment. Accompanying him on the three-day tour is a small team of industrialists.

Bhattacharjee went to Japan last year with industrialist R.P. Goenka and the secretary-general of the Confederation of Indian Industry, Tarun Das.

This time, Goenka, ITC chairman Y.C. Deveswar, Patton’s Sanjay Budhia, Gujarat Ambuja’s Harshvardhan Neotia and C.K. Dhanuka from the leather industry will be part of the chief minister’s entourage. His principal secretary, Arun Bhattacharya, will also be there.

The trip — touted as “all business, no pleasure” — will have a special focus on leather.

Last week, the industrialists called on the chief minister and saw the presentation to be made in Italy. “We discussed with the chief minister how to project the strengths of Bengal. Of course, we will focus on areas like leather, agro-processing, IT, tourism and chemicals,” Deveswar said.

Budhia said the aim is to attract investment and improve trade relations with Italy. “We have to do an exercise on confidence-building,” he added.

Neotia said the areas of focus also included gems, jewellery and fashion.

Officials said Bhattacharjee would be in Milan on June 10 to meet the president of the region of Lombardy, Roberto Formidoni. The government will sign a memorandum of understanding on various aspects of co-operation, including food processing and environment, with Formidoni.

Another MoU will be signed with the Confederation of Industry of Italy. The government will also make a presentation on the industries of Bengal.

On June 11, two MoUs will be signed. One will be with Assomac, an Italian association of manufacturers for footwear, leather goods and tanneries. The other will be between Aimpes, an Italian association of leather manufacturers, and the president of Leather Export Promotion Council of India. Bhattacharjee will on the same day catch a train for Rome. The next day, he will meet industrialists there.

Later, Bhattacharjee will leave for Florence where he will discuss export possibilities, especially in leather. He will also meet the president of the region of Tuscany.

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