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Like celebrity news, North Korea easily finds space in the papers and portals across the world. This time, those column inches on the country and its supreme leader Kim Jong-un, speak about the deliberations over the country's decision to 'delay' the planned missile attack on Guam - an unincorporated territory held by the US.


Simmering tensions between the US and North Korea have led to many questions around how a clash between the two would result in.


The US isn't alien to the rules of engagement in a war, but for North Korea, sustaining the fourth largest army in the world won't be easy. Especially considering the minimal business ties it keeps amid complete international isolation.


Who is North Korea's friend in need?


The premise of a Free Trade Agreement between countries is good political relations. Simply put, if you're good to me and I'm good to you we can be friends and then we can do business together.


Despite their disagreements in the recent past over nuclear tests, China is North Korea's go-to friend when it comes to business.


According to data analytics firm Statista, North Korea imported 85 percent of its goods worth USD 3.47 billion from China in 2015. In the same year, North Korea exported about 83 percent of goods worth USD 2.83 billion to the manufacturing superpower.The more surprising fact is that India comes right after China as North Korea's second biggest trade partner among all other countries who maintain trade relations with the communist state.


The data obtained by The Observatory of Economic Complexity, a leading data visualisation site for international trade data pegs India ($97.8 m), Pakistan ($43.1 m) and Burkina Faso ($32.8 m) as the top export destinations of North Korea.


Likewise, most imports for the country apart from China come again from India ($108 m) followed by Russia ($78.2 m), Thailand ($73.8 m) and the Philippines ($53.2 m).


If one ignores the numbers, then it is interesting to ascertain what North Korea trades with its major export partners.


Among major products of use, refined petroleum ($186 m), synthetic filament yarn woven fabric ($138 m) and delivery trucks ($108 m) are the top products, North Korea gets from abroad. The country's primary exports include coal briquettes ($952 m) and textiles (non-knit coats & suits).


A report from Confederation of Indian Industries says India's exports to North Korea in 2013 totalled more than US$60 million and these primarily included food and medicine.


On the global front, India has been a critic of North Korea's nuclear tests and has also criticised its ties with Pakistan and its support for the Kashmir conflict.


In May 2017, after new UN sanctions were imposed on North Korea over its increasing number of missile tests, India banned all trade with North Korea excluding only food and medicine items.


Following suite, China - a critic North Korea's nuclear ambitions in the past, banned imports of iron ore, iron, lead and coal from North Korea this month.


Source:- Money Control

The National Housing Bank (NHB) has joined hands with the French Development Agency (FDA) and the European Union to launch the SUNREF Housing India programme as part of efforts aimed at scaling up green housing projects in India.


SUNREF (Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance) Housing India will provide financing of €112 million to NHB, through a credit line of €100 million with AFD and a grant of €12 million financed by the European Union. The credit facility and grant agreements were signed with the NHB in July 2017.


The three partners on Thursday presented the details of the SUNREF Housing India Programme to housing sector stakeholders in the presence of Alexandra Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, and Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India.


Speaking on the occasion, Sriram Kalyanaraman, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, NHB, said “green housing” is an idea whose time has come. This is not the first time that NHB is availing overseas funds to promote green housing in the country. Five years ago, NHB had tied up with Germany’s KfW for €50-million funding.


Kalyanaraman said NHB would, through the SUNREF programme, provide funding to the green housing sector — home buyer and developers — via banks and housing finance corporations.


The €100-million credit line will be available for a three-year time-period that began from July 2017. NHB hopes to do the disbursal between mid-2018 and 2020.


In the background of the growth of the Indian housing sector where 70 per cent of the dwelling units are to be built from now till 2030, the SUNREF project aims to reduce the negative impact on environment. It seeks to encourage the development of green residential buildings that demonstrate more efficiency in energy, water and building material use.


Source:- Business Line

Aiming to make India a manufacturing hub for electronics and semiconductors, the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), a body representing the country’s Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry, is opening its first overseas office in Taipei, Taiwan, today.


The office will be inaugurated by Ashwini K. Aggarwal, Chairman, IESA; Mignonne Chan, who will head the Taiwanese office and delegates from Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala – the first three States to promote investment opportunities among Taiwanese electronic manufacturers.


A memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (Teema) to promote co-operation and investment between Indian and Taiwanese companies in the ESDM industry was signed in 2015. Opening an office in Taipei comes as the next step of this co-operation.


Last week, 14 Taiwanese companies visited Bengaluru to meet local manufacturers and explore investment opportunities.


“The enthusiasm of Taiwanese companies is amazing. Earlier, they were looking at the countries that are their neighbours, but now they are looking at South Asia broadly and India is a focus country,” MN Vidyashankar, President, IESA, said, in an interview to BusinessLine. “With this initiative we are targeting $350 million investment in the next three years.”


According to Vidyashankar, the range of products that Taiwanese players are interested to manufacture in India, either on their own or in partnership with local manufacturers, is wide and targets mainly consumer, industrial, automotive electronics and mobile devices, among other verticals.


“Made in India” products and components will be supplied both to the domestic market and exported to third countries.


IESA is planning to set up its second overseas office in Japan, another leading ESDM market, Vidyashankar added.


India's ESDM industry stood at $82 billion in 2015, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8 per cent since 2013, according to the IESA-EY report.


By the end of 2017, the sector will cross $100 billion, the report adds, and is expected to grow further at a CAGR of 16-23 per cent to reach $171-228 billion by 2020.


India is heavily dependent for components import on countries such as China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, although electronic manufacturing service companies in India have reached considerable maturity for final assembly, testing, packaging and distribution services, the report notes.


While value addition remains limited owing to the dominance of SKD (semi-knocked down) type of assembly, Indian companies are gaining scale and maturity and CKD (completely knocked down) manufacturing activities gain traction, and FDI from large foreign manufacturers is seen as a necessary boost for development of the entire value chain.


Source:-Business Line

Having served as managing director of AkzoNobel India, maker of Dulux Paints, industry veteran Amit Jain moved to Amsterdam in 2014 to head its decorative paints business in North and West Europe. After three years, he is again taking up a leadership role in the local unit, assuming the post of chairman. Jain, who will continue to serve at Amsterdam, speaks to Arnab Dutta about the Indian business and future plans. Edited excerpts:


Where does the Indian business stand in AkzoNobel’s global portfolio?


In 2009, our business was about Rs 900 crore, almost the same as what it was in 1987, when I started working for ICI. I joined back as the managing director of AkzoNobel India in 2009 and over the past eight years, we have trebled the size of the company and our profit. Thanks to the fact that ICI got acquired by Dutch paints giant AkzoNobel in 2008 and the new team that the company had acquired.


Today, our Indian subsidiary is one of the fastest growing businesses for AkzoNobel globally and a very important market for us. Also, India has become a talent base for AkzoNobel. Six years back, we built a new team here and the only member of that team who is still in India is our current managing director, K Jayakumar. All other members are now handling global roles within the company. 


The India business continues to be quite small, compared to AkzoNobel’s business globally...


The Indian paints market is one of the fastest growing in the world, with growth rates of 10-12 per cent. However, it is more competitive in terms of value chain, compared to many other large markets. We have one of the tightest value chains here. The cost of the same paint in India would be half of that in the Western markets. 


The cost of manufacturing in India is a third. While distributor and retailer margins, put together, in India is 11-17 per cent, in the West it is 35-50 per cent. All these add to the cost elsewhere. This is also why Indian talent is getting exposure globally, as they are bred under such competitive circumstances.


How and in what ways is the market here unique... 


First, the cost of distribution has to be maintained tightly. One has to reach thousands of outlets across a large country, unlike in most other markets. So, distribution is a huge challenge.


Second, unlike developed markets, people in India do not paint their houses themselves. Since consumers are less aware of the nature and quality of the product, the role of the brand becomes critical during their buying decision. So, brand building is more important here.


How has the slowing in industrial activities and real estate affected the company’s business in the country? 


We have not felt the heat of slowdown in the industrial paints segment. While some sectors might have slowed, newer sectors have picked up. The slowdown in real estate hit us less, as 80 per cent of the decorative paints business comes from repainting. However, the industry is under margin pressure, as raw material prices have gone up sharply in one and a half years. The industry has taken a couple of price hikes but the pressure is still there. 


When do you expect to see consolidation in the local market?


India is one of the few large countries which has significant scope for penetration and expansion, as a lot of people continue to use lime paints. We are already witnessing consolidation by the top four players. The organised players now hold 65 per cent of the market. 


With high-cost efficiency and economies of scale, India is a more mature market than China, though penetration remains low. That is why all major paint multinationals have tried to get into this market.


Source:-Business Standard

On the 15th of August 2017, the world's largest democracy, India, celebrated 70 years of sovereignty and independence, 70 years of growth, revelry and optimism.


Over the course of the years, the newly liberated population has generally embraced changes, pushing for economic development and hoping for a better future and quality of life. Years of hard work, perseverance and sheer effort have today placed India at the global pedestal, a bright spot so to speak.


A recent assessment by the International Monetary Fund explicitly mentions the significant progress the country has made on important economic reforms, the benefits of which the country is now beginning to yield. In just the past few years itself the Indian economy has made a significant leap upward to be crowned the seventh largest economy in the world measured by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity.


Of course, to reach this point of recognition, India had to struggle, mostly with itself. Decades of poor governance fashioned a huge disparity and discord between the rich and the poor, educated and illiterate. The 1.3 billion population makes it a particularly difficult challenge to redistribute resources efficiently and fairly. This is compounded by a culture steeped in corruption, lack of accountability and an over-burdened judiciary system. India, therefore, remains at risk of sabotaging its progress.


There has been a visible change in the general mind-set with Modi's remarkable governance and the nation has its sights set on increased economic prowess and wellbeing. The future of India now lies in rational reforms that will shape its trajectory as one of the fastest growing economies in the world.


One of the key areas in need of amends is the Indian judicial system. Indeed, a large number of issues that the country currently faces can be resolved if the Indian judicial system administers important reforms. An example is the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 which requires judges to declare their assets, lays down judicial standards, and establishes processes for removal of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts and the government plans to reform the way its judges are appointed.


Furthermore, another reform that has been under discussion includes the establishment of "fast-track courts" and the appointment of an increased number of judges in order to resolve the backlog that the system is exposed to. Establishing an average of five to six FTCs in each district, with priority accorded to those states and districts with large pendency would effective in clearing pending backlogs.


The judicial system can also take a cue from other countries. For instance, in English court procedures a losing party in litigation pays a substantial amount, if not the complete amount, of the costs to the winning party. An enactment of such procedures in India can act as a deterrent for those who see litigation not as a dispute-resolution process, but as a means to delay their obligations. This will also help stop litigants filling frivolous lawsuits and promote out-of-court settlement between parties.


Such reforms are crucial to investor confidence and will ensure that the Indian judiciary is seen to be independent and adhering to the upmost standards of integrity. A healthy judicial system is the backbone of any growing economy as investors demand their investment to be protected by a pro-active, fair and truly independent judicial system.


In the current era, there appear to be a few more roadblocks that can considerably slow down the rally of great ideas unless they are addressed, assessed and effectively dealt with in a systemic manner.


Prime Minster Narendra Modi has made a laudable effort of driving India's identity as an ideas factory, receiving remarkable praise from around the world. The big test, however, would be to receive the same reaction from the Indian public as his five years as the premier leader come to a close.


Even though the immediate moments of freedom were marred by mass migration and the displacement of thousands, decades on, the dust settled, India is finally finding its footing. Similarly, the Modi-machine, whose narrative has been tainted by allegations of being misaligned with the crux of the Indian Constitution, needs to set the tone right for the future of the country—perhaps by fixating the nation's vision on economically beneficial solutions through programs that harness ease of business and reap economic benefits from around the world.


The government must address the veiled, tacit yet persistent issues that act as roadblocks to its own policies. The government must understand the sentiments of the nation and justly debate these issues. Regardless, the end of identity politics will eliminate a prolonged issue that could slowly erode the innards of India's democratic system and pluralistic secular fabric.


India is currently at the cusp of a cultural and economic revolution. How we utilise this force of progress and what direction it takes from here onwards is in the hands of the common citizen. What we choose as our future, be it exclusivity or acceptance rather than tolerance, remains to be seen. But one thing is clear—this is the age of India's ascendance into a power never before witnessed by this world.


Souce:- Huffpost