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Wednesday, Jan 21, 2004

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Kerala business meet to focus on manufacturing sector

Our Bureau

Chennai , Jan. 20

KERALA will showcase its manufactured products and raw material requirements at a business meet to be organised between February 19 and 21 at Kochi.

The event will highlight 10 areas of manufacturing that are unique to Kerala and in which it has natural strengths. These include natural rubber products, processed foods, especially spices and seafood, coir products, ayurvedic products, handicrafts, wood-based products, and electrical and electronic goods.

The idea is to help small and medium manufacturers reach out to domestic and international customers and suppliers. The event is supported by the State Government, the Kerala Small-Scale Industries' Association and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

According to the Kerala Government Investment Promotion Secretary, Mr P.H. Kurian, its location in the south puts the State at a disadvantage in reaching customers or sourcing raw materials. Often it is cheaper to purchase some materials abroad rather than within India. For instance, some chemicals are available 20 per cent cheaper from Korea compared with those from Ahmedabad or Mumbai. But the small businessmen need help to identify the buyers and sellers.

The meet will also highlight the State's changes in policies in attracting private investments and developments in the manufacturing sector. This is something that it needs to work hard at to earn investors' confidence.

The State Government is inviting more private sector investments. The going is slow as compared to developments in service sector, especially tourism. But though slow, changes are happening, he said.

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