Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Posted by: Fiona Cullinan
Categories: India | Tags: India, business, investment, economy, growth, UK, infrastructure, energy, retail, tech, trade, IT, immigration, Vince Cable, visas
Business Secretary Vince Cable has been in India this week leading a trade mission of 50 UK businesses and following up on David Cameron’s visit last July. As the UK seeks to stake its place in the new centres of global growth, our historical and cultural ties with India make it a natural focus. So where do the new business opportunities lie?
For an overview of the visit, we’ve pulled out the key points from Cable’s keynote speech, ‘Prosperity in partnership – India and the UK working together for growth’, in Mumbai on Monday, as well as some of the press coverage from the trade visit. As a snapshot, here are the most frequently used words from his talk:
Shift from finance to IT
“We are now seeking to rebalance the economy, away from its overdependence on banking back towards high-tech manufacturing and other sectors where British firms excel, and to place greater emphasis on private sector investment. A key aspect of that is expanding overseas trade and investment into the UK.”
“Of the 1,200 Indian companies based in Europe, 700 are based in the UK – the likes of HCL, TCS, Wipro and Infosys. About 400 of these are in the IT/software sector.”
Push on retail
* Britain to push India to open up retail sector (Reuters)
“In terms of infrastructure, for example, with India investing heavily in its roads, rail and ports, British companies can provide expertise in project management, design, structural engineering, power distribution, the supply of certain equipment and more. Some British infrastructure firms already operate here… But I want to see more collaborations, and more partnerships.”
Green and low-carbon opportunities
“Minimising the environmental impact of India’s ongoing development will be a major challenge, but again I see real potential for partnerships with British companies that are already excelling in this sector.
“In stark economic terms, the global low-carbon environmental goods and services sector had sales of £3.2 trillion in 2008/09, with the global market expected to grow to over £4.3 trillion by 2015.
“The UK is dedicating itself to becoming a market leader in a range of low-carbon sectors, including offshore wind, wave and tidal power, the civil-nuclear supply chain, automotive and aerospace.”
On education, GM, nuclear energy and innovation
“[In education], there will be a particular focus on India’s new innovation universities. But beyond these, ministers are also discussing opportunities offered by genetically modified crops. There is ongoing work regarding the UK-India relationship in space, with the UK and India agreeing to explore the opportunities for greater academic linkages and student exchange between Indian space institutes and leading UK universities. Collaboration over civil nuclear power is also in the mix, and I am seeing Dr Bannerjee, Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, tomorrow.”
“Our business relationship is already strong, but it could be stronger. Bilateral trade is worth around £11.5 billion, with 17% of India’s exports to the EU going to the UK.”
“Ratings firm Crisil predicted earlier this month that India’s economy would grow at 8.4% annually during the next five years. This on the back of 9% growth for three years before global recession…”
“There are around 700 Indian companies with investments in the UK, and the UK receives more than 50% of India’s investment into Europe.”
“I am… passionate about encouraging more British firms of all sizes to look to India as a place of real business opportunity, and more small Indian companies to look to the UK as their European destination of choice.”
On immigration and work visa restrictions
“I recognise there have been concerns expressed in some quarters in India that changes to British rules on migration might be detrimental to Indian firms, but I would like to state for the record that the government has exempted intra-company transfers from the annual limit, which comes into effect in April. We welcome the role that Indian workers play to the UK economy and, of course, the massive contributions made by the Indian delegation in the UK.”
Image: Vince Cable, UK Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills with Arun Nanda of Confederation of Indian Industry. © ukinindia.fco.gov.uk
• Grant Thornton is widely recognised as one of the leading international firms advising on India-related matters, having established a dedicated South Asia Group in 1991 to serve Asian-owned businesses, both in the UK and those investing into the Indian subcontinent. Read our quarterly India Watch to keep updated on financial and economic news.
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