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Rediff.com  » Business » India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

Last updated on: September 18, 2012 09:06 IST

India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

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Faisal Kidwai in Mumbai


India doesn't like foreign investors and keeps them away, says Jim Rogers, an American author, financial commentator and a successful international investor.

Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum Fund with Hungarian-American business magnate George Soros and is the creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index, says India will find it difficult to grow in a dynamic way because it has a high debt-to-GDP ratio.

The most promising country at the moment is Myanmar, he tells Faisal Kidwai in a phone interview.

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Image: Jim Rogers, one of the most successful investors in the world.
Photographs: Eric Thayer/Reuters

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Here are the excerpts:

You have said you don't expect a lot of good economic news coming out of India. Why do you think India will find it difficult to grow in a dynamic way?

It's very difficult for foreigners to do business in India because India doesn't like foreigners and keeps them away. For instance, Walmart has many stores in China, but not a single fully-owned Walmart store in India simply because India doesn't like overseas businessmen.

India needs to change its regulations, especially in areas such as agriculture. In India, a farmer can own only five hectares, which makes it difficult for him to make a lot of money. How can an Indian farmer who can buy only five hectares compete with a Brazilian farmer who can have 25,000 hectares?

India is strangling itself with regulations and controls, which discourage capital formation.

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Image: A salesman arranges a gold necklace inside a jewellery showroom in Kochi.
Photographs: Sivaram V/Reuters

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India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

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You have said you are not a fan of India. Any particular reason?

As I have said, India has a huge bureaucracy and the government is against foreign capital, but also because India has a very high debt-to-GDP ratio and it's difficult for a country with a high debt-to-GDP ratio to grow in a dynamic manner.

India's debt is growing higher and that means inflation is getting worse. All in all, India is badly managed these days. There are too many other problems. India must make the changes I have highlighted above because foreign direct investment is difficult in India.

The government can make India more attractive by removing the restrictions and controls, but, so far, it doesn't want to remove them. India is a wonderful country, but the government makes it difficult for investors.

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Image: An employee counts currency notes at a cash counter inside a bank in Kolkata.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Tags: India , GDP , Jim Rogers

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India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

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What is needed to turn around Europe and the United States?

The United States has now the largest debt in the history of the world and the debt in Europe means many countries in that continent are bankrupt because they have too much debt.

The debt in the West will continue to cause more problems as we go along. I am not optimistic about the West. Asia is on the rise and the West on decline.

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Image: A view of Times Square in New York.
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

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Which are the most promising countries?

The most promising country at the moment is Myanmar. In 1962, Myanmar was the richest nation in Asia, but then it closed its walls to the outside world and is now the poorest country in the region. But Myanmar is now opening up to the outside world. And what makes it more exciting is that its neigbours are China, Thailand and India.

It has huge natural resources and cheap, disciplined labour force. In 1978, China started opening up and became a very exciting country for the next 35 years and the same is about to happen in Myanmar. I am also excited about North Korea because I expect the same thing to happen to North Korea in the next few years.

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Image: People visit the Shwedagon Pagoda during the yellow robe weaving festival in Yangon, Myanmar.
Photographs: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

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India doesn't like foreign investors, says Jim Rogers

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You are one of the smartest investors in the world. What's your secret?

I'm a simple person. If I have had success, it's because I'm curious. I question everything. I think independently and I'm persistent. I don't give up.


Image: Jim Rogers in New York.
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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