In what has been described as the largest ever prime ministerial trade delegation, over 100 companies are participating in a three-day visit to India.
Amongst the 100 companies are 30 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and ministers including Lord Green, David Willetts, Hugo Swire and Greg Barker.
As part of the delegation, the group will meet with Indian government ministers as well as inward investors and businesses in Mumbai and Delhi. The government set a target in July 2010 of doubling bilateral trade to India from £11.5 billion up to £23 billion in 2015
Prime minister David Cameron also announced that the coalition will be supporting a new pan-India network of British Business Centres by 2017, the first pilot in a scheme of 20 overseas business networks. The initiative is being backed by £8 million of government funding.
Speaking as part of the delegation, Cameron said he was ‘determined’ to make sure that Britain succeeds in the global race to link UK firms to fast-growing economies around the world.
‘As India grows, it needs a partner that can support its ambition – in infrastructure, in energy, in healthcare and more,’ he added.
‘It wants its business to have unrivalled access to European and global markets and its students to get the best education in the world. Britain can do all these things and more.’
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New trade deals announced as part of the trip include a new first primary health care centre opening in Delhi from Brit Health Care, the appointment of Mott MacDonald to provide design engineering for six stations of the £2 billion Hyderabad metro project and the establishment of a delivery centre in Liverpool by Tata Consultancy Services, brining in 300 new jobs.
The government is also launching a competition, in conjunction with British Airways, to offer three entrepreneurs the chance to visit Britain on a ‘tailored programme’ to encourage them to set up in the UK.
Trade minister Lord Green comments, ‘We are on track to double our trade with India by 2015.
‘UK businesses are rightly recognising that they can reap the rewards of looking outside Europe for trading partners, selling their goods and services to high growth markets outside the EU.’