SBI launches Japan Desk to aid FDI inflow

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) In a major move to attract foreign investment worth $30 billion from Japan in the short term, the State Bank of India on Tuesday launched its Japan Desk here as a single nodal point catering to Japanese corporates.

“Japanese rural banks are are interested in increasing operations and they need a window to India. The Japan Desk is filing a gap felt between Japanese investors and requirements in India,” SBI chair Arundhati Bhattacharya told reporters here following the launch.

“Japanese corporates need help to understand new financial and regulatory landscapes. Even Indian entrepreneurs require this kind of help and handholding,” she said.

The first such desk by state-run SBI will provide advisory to India-bound Japanese investors, as well as financial and non-financial support to local establishments of Japanese corporates and to Japanese SMEs without India offices.

“Under the Japan-India Investment Promotion Partnership, we have targeted to have $30 billion worth of investment from Japan,” Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu said at the event.

SBI will provide rupee financing to Japanese corporates through Letters of Credit issued by Japanese banks in favour of the SBI’s Tokyo branch.

Recalling Japan’s role in the making of China into a manufacturing giant, Bhattacharya, in her address at the inauguration, hoped it would play a similar role for Indian manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the negative interest rate recently approved by the Bank of Japan (BoJ) for certain bank deposits, came into force on Tuesday, a historic measure intended to boost growth of the world’s third largest economy.

The measure, announced on January 29 by the BoJ, applies a negative interest rate of minus 0.1 percent to deposits that Japanese financial institutions place with it – in a bid to stimulate investment and credit and force a reduction of interest rates applied by banks.

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