On Friday September 24, South West exporters met with the High Commissioner of India to the UK, Her Excellency, Mrs. Gaitri Issar Kumar.
Companies representing the region’s diverse business landscape shared their experiences of doing business with India as well as expressing their hopes for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement.
Representatives from the tech, marine, food & drink and creative sectors spoke at length with Mrs Kumar and discussed key initiatives designed to drive trade between the two markets.
Her Excellency was introduced to the region’s Levelling Up activities including The Retail Lab and Tech4Good, initiatives that have been created to provide market intelligence, commercial development and bespoke strategic advice to South West companies looking to trade with India.
The High Commissioner was presented with a hamper including a range of South West brands involved in the Great British Food Programme, an initiative delivered by Business West and DIT to support UK food & drink producers to engage with international buyers across the world with events, workshops, and an online directory.
Jaya Chakrabarti, President of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative and founder of Tiscreport, a company based in Bristol which provides a digital solution to increase transparency in the supply chain to ensure companies comply with the Modern Slavery Act, said:
"Speaking from personal experience from attending the Business West Tech4Good virtual trade mission to India earlier this year, we were taken on a magical journey across many states, sectors and globally trading corporations.
"The Indian companies we forged relationships with shone with not only their innovations and success, but also their greater purpose to do more good as corporate citizens. I know that there are significant opportunities to be explored together."
Increasing UK-India trade is a huge opportunity. India is one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies and home to more than a billion consumers.
Preparations towards a Free Trade Agreement with India are progressing. A deal would represent a major boost for UK exporters, lowering tariffs, easing regulation, and driving up bilateral trade which totalled £23 billion in 2019.
Increasing trade between the UK and India and creating a stronger pathway for investment will support jobs and create better value for people in both countries.
Paul Shand, DIT’s Head of Trade in the South West said:
“This event provides an invaluable opportunity for businesses interested in exporting to India or already doing so, to showcase their company’s products or services and their involvement in developing the trade relationship between the UK and India.
“We know that companies who export are more likely to be profitable and more resilient through spreading risk across different markets, and this event will have no doubt opened more doors and increased awareness of the opportunities for South West businesses.
“During a challenging time for businesses and employees alike, international trade will help firms reach their full potential while strengthening the economy.”
Ameeta Virk, India Growth Markets Leader at DIT, said:
“It is wonderful to welcome the High Commissioner of India to our region once again, and to introduce her to our unique initiatives designed to drive commercial growth between the region and India.
“We hope this visit will serve to further cement the South West region’s ties with India.”