Do you think that the recent demonatisation has affected the response that you have got here?
I was part of a conference yesterday where we discussed the subject of demonitisation. It will have a big impact. In fact according to me, India is reacting very well to it and even the medium scaled companies, who have been badly hurt, see the necessity and importance. This is the indication of having a very mature way of supporting the state of India.
I am sure that India will recover soon, maybe not as fast as the government says it will. The last prediction was it will take about a quarter to recover. But I see the recovery more in the range of 2 to 3 quarters; again if everything is fine for the next one year. It will affect but as they say in business you need to have haircut if one wants to make it grow again. It's amazing that lot of companies, executives, owners whom I have spoken to see this as an opportunity and not a hurdle. But some have suffered badly.
But these are short lift problems. The smaller enterprises down South, like those in Coimbatore and Bangalore, will recover very fast. The bigger companies of North are not much affected. Those who will be affected are the medium sized enterprises in India. In Northern India, I have 10 customers which mean 1000 machines for us, in the South I have 1000 customers that is 10 machines, so I think it depends on the size.
There have been talks about a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, what are your thought on it?
This is a very important agreement. I gave a speech yesterday where I said nationalism and trade barrier are in style right now, we only talked about the US though. But whilst everybody builds trade barriers many people don't realise that trade barriers work both ways. Countries always think if we make trade barriers by imposing high import duty, then their industry will be safe. But they don't understand that they cannot export anymore. So we have to make free trade agreements as much as possible. I am a strong believer that FTA create jobs.
If you are to summarise your whole experience so far here at the fair, what would you have to say?
It was a good trade show. We built many important contacts here. We were able to conclude significant number of contracts. For SSM, 2016 has been the best year ever and what we were able to conclude here in Mumbai really reflects the same way. It was in line with the entire year.
What would you expect in the next edition of India ITME ?
Make the event shorter. I think the show would gain from that. Four-day event is the perfect time. This way you can also make senior executives stay for the entire 4 days. Just yesterday the CEO left and I will finish the show as the chairman. If it were 4 days, either I could stay full time or he could stay for full time. I talked to my colleagues who are from other companies, Uster for instance, the whole management left yesterday.
The first few days were slow, that is when the top executives of companies were present at the show. But now when the show is picking up, they had to leave. It's out of tact and can be avoided.
Also, timing India ITME in between major shows like the ITMAS in Europe could help companies position themselves at the right spot, right time, and at the same time bring in all the innovations. This will benefit the exhibitors, visitors, and the quality of the show.
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