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Trading Relations

Volume 456: debated on Monday 29 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are being taken to encourage business and trade links between the east Midlands and India. (111728)

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is the Government organisation that supports companies in the UK doing business internationally and overseas enterprises seeking to locate in the UK. India is recognised in the UKTI corporate strategy as a high growth market offering both promising business opportunities and significant challenges to UK companies.

At the regional level, UKTI and the East Midlands Development Agency are working with private and public sector partners to develop a strategy aimed at matching capacity and capability in the east Midlands with opportunities in the Indian market. UKTI ensure individual clients have the support they need to assess opportunities in this market. As well as advice and guidance from international trade advisers, there is also the opportunity to access market information and themed events run by East Midlands International Trade Association project. Also, groups of companies are taken from the region to India to explore business opportunities first hand. UKTI's trade portal also contains a great deal of relevant information.

UKTI’s inward investment activity is delivered through the regional development agencies. India is recognised within the East Midlands Development Agency's foreign direct investment strategy as a key market. In line with the regional economic strategy, Emda will target inward investment opportunities within the transport technologies and transport equipment sectors. Emda, in collaboration with Advantage West Midlands, currently employs one full-time representative in Mumbai.

The Leicestershire-India Trade Bureau (LITB) is a project established with devolved Emda funding to promote trade and business cooperation between Leicestershire and India with specific emphasis on the state of Gujarat.

The bureau provides an information service that can identify suitable business opportunities and act as a business ‘marriage’ broker. It also raises awareness amongst Leicestershire companies of the potential of Gujarat and India as an export market. UKTI and Emda are considering the establishment of an East Midlands India Bureau with a wider and more regional remit next year.