London business chamber for more efforts to promote India-Britain trade
Unsatisfied with the current level of trade between Britain and India, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for more efforts to promote the two-way trade.
LCCI chairman Subhash V. Takkar said the LCCI and other industry bodies were working hard but needed to do more to create awareness among British businessmen about the opportunities India offers.
Addressing a meeting organized by the Confederation of India Industry (CII) here Tuesday, he said the downsizing in Britain due to the slowdown offer tremendous opportunities to Indian business. He cited the 'classic' example of Tata Group which acquired Jaguar Land Rover and turned it around.
"What is available in UK and the skills and the capabilities in brains of Indian entrepreneurs is a lethal combination. We will put that together and we will make it happen in a manner that you can come to UK, buy business and turn them around," he told the gathering.
Takkar is here as part of business delegation, which will also be visiting Chennai. London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is heading the delegation, will be arriving here later in the day.
He said despite the problems faced by Europe and Britain, London remained a very powerful economy and continued to grow.
Later talking to reporters, Takkar said London as an international city and remained unaffected from the slowdown in Europe.
"London is biggest financial centre of the world. It is an international city and not just a UK city. The biggest number of international banks is present in London," he said while pointing out that the city, unlike New York and Tokyo, has common working hours with most parts of the world.
"It is a misnomer. It would cost more to set up an office in Mumbai than in London," he said to someone citing a general perception of London being a costly city.
Takkar noted that Britain had slipped as India's trade partner from fifth place to 18, 19 and sometimes 20th place. He attributed this to lack of awareness among British businessmen of the opportunities in India, stressing the need for identifying the areas for promoting further trade.
"For example education is a great product which UK can bring here. Certain skills in management consultancy can still be brought out of UK to India. India can do the manufacturing like pharamceuticals and textiles. UK will never be able to manufacture like that."
Takkar believes insurance is another area that can be brought to India in a major way as the kind of products and range that is available internationally is not available to Indian customers.
Inviting Indian businessmen to explore the opportunities in Britain, Takkar said LCCI was lobbying hard with the government to resolve the immigration issues as it was affecting businessmen, students and visitors from the Asian sub-continent and Africa.
He said while LCCI was lobbying to ensure visitors, students and businessmen do not suffer, those who want to become economic migrants would continue to have difficult times. "Because UK economy has slowed down. They want people within UK to do business and get jobs and that is understandable," he added.