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Central nod for Mamata Banerjee's visit to Spain to draw investments ahead of Bengal Global Business Summit

Tour planned in September for investment hunt

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 01.09.23, 07:26 AM
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee File picture

Mamata Banerjee is likely to visit Spain to draw investments to the state ahead of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) with the Centre clearing a proposal for the trip on Thursday.

Sources said the chief minister was likely to start her tour on September 12 and return on September 23. The BGBS is slated to be held on November 21 and 22. There are reports that Dubai is also part of Mamata’s itinerary.


“The required clearance from the ministry of external affairs reached Nabanna today (Thursday). This has been conveyed to the chief minister, who is in Mumbai to attend the third meeting of the INDIA,” said a source.

The sources also said a team of industrialists and a few officials of the industries and the MSME departments might travel with the chief minister.

“The groundwork has been made as some government officials have already visited Spain and held meetings with the chambers of commerce there. The programme of the chief minister could not be announced as the approval from the external affairs ministry was yet to come,” said a senior official.

Mamata’s visit to Spain has certain purposes, the official said.

“The main areas of economic activities in Spain include tourism and textile. As the chief minister has laid stress on the MSME sector, the visit to Spain is important,” said a source.

Another official said Mamata was set to focus on large investments also since the automotive industry was one of the major areas of economic activity in Spain.

According to the sources, she is likely to visit Madrid and Barcelona where she is scheduled to hold meetings with several investors.

“The state has laid focus on textile and tourism as these sectors have enormous potential of generating jobs. Spain also has expertise in these areas. So, the focus will be to draw investment to these areas, particularly when the state is setting up several textile hubs,” said a bureaucrat.

Spain does not feature among the top 10 investors in India and there are not too many large Spanish companies operating in India.

However, clothing giant Inditex — which retails under Zara and Massimo Dutti — has a strong presence here. The biggest fast fashion group in the world, Inditex, operates in India in a joint venture with Tata Group’s retail arm Trent Ltd.

In the past, Mamata had been focusing on Europe to attract foreign investment, visiting the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Her last visit was to Frankfurt and Milan in 2018 for 12 days.

“But those visits did not yield much. But this time, the state is expecting something positive as the focus will be on medium and small industries,” said a source.

In the past, the Narendra Modi government hadn’t allegedly allowed the chief
minister to visit several countries.

“We were expecting that the visit to Spain would be cleared by the Centre as she is going in search of investments,” a source in the Bengal government said on Thursday.

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