New Delhi: The Netherlands could serve as an "excellent gateway" to the European market for Indian businesses and the two nations have lots to offer each other, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said today.
Observing that the Netherlands does not want protectionism in the world, Koenders pointed out that 80 per cent of India-EU trade is with countries on the European mainland.
"That's all the more reason to keep striving for a trade agreement between India and the European Union. Even after Brexit, the European Union will remain one of the largest consumer markets in the world, with over 450 million citizens," Koenders said while addressing an interactive session organised by industry body CII here.
Maintaining that Britain's exit from the European Union, popularly known as Brexit, is certain, the Dutch minister said no country will gain from it in the end.
"We want to make the divorce as smooth as possible, especially when it comes to trade. But it will hurt, like any divorce. The EU will negotiate as one: all remaining 27 nations agree on the Commission's mandate," he added.
Koenders noted that increasing connectivity between India and the Netherlands, with more direct flights and investments and trade, underscores that the country is India's hub to Europe.
"We don't want protectionism in the world which is happening in other countries, we need social contract. You see that in the US, these forces we need to combine in an innovative economy," Koenders said....