Mr Nirmalya Kumar, Tata Executive Council member, said its major businesses in the UK gain from membership of the European Union….reports Asian Lite News
Tata Group, which owns Tetley Tea besides Jaguar and Land Rover, employs 65,000 people in Britain and has combined UK revenues of £25bn. Mr Kumar told the BBC that access to the single market made trade easier with the rest of Europe.
Mr Kumar reports directly to Cyrus Mistry, the chairman of Tata Group, and is head of the group’s strategy.
“It’s not rocket science” to see that business benefits from the EU, he said.
Mr Kumar was speaking to the BBC as part of the India Rising series, which is looking at the growth of the Indian economy.
He said that India had been an economic success and although it still needed investment in infrastructure and energy, as well as a more positive business environment, the government recognised the need for reform.
“If you take off China, I think for any large economy to have grown at 5-7% for 20 years is actually unprecedented in human history,” he said.
He said that businesses had to be patient as the government of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, put reforms in place.
Mr Kumar said that the UK was a good place to operate.
“Britain has always been for Indians a relatively easy place to do business,” he said. “We speak the language, we have historical links, we have known British people all our lives.”
Asked about whether Britain could do more trade with India, Mr Kumar said: “I think there is a lot more we can do to connect to the growth engine of India and it will be good for our people in the UK and it will be good for our businesses in the UK, it will be good for everybody.”
Pat McFadden MP, Labour’s Shadow Europe Minister, responding to comments made by Mr Kumar, said: “These comments are the latest from companies employing thousands of British workers making clear that pulling out of the EU would be bad for jobs, trade and investment in the UK.
“It is not just a matter of trading into the EU, though being part of the EU obviously helps our companies to do that. It is also about attracting investment from around the world. Tata is not an EU based company but Mr Kumar makes clear that their investment decisions in the UK are influenced by us being part of the EU.
“It’s important to show leadership on these issues and not allow Britain to volunteer to be marginalised. Many jobs are on the line here, as well as our influence in the world. It’s in the interests of our economy and our workers to be part of the EU, taking advantage of the trade and investment opportunities membership gives us.”
However, Mr Kumar made it clear that it was for the UK government and voters to decide on whether the UK would remain in the EU.
“The fact [is] that for our British operations being part of the EU makes it easier for them to have market access and many of our investments in the past have been based on that understanding,” he said.
“Having said that, it is for the British government and the British people to decide what they want to do. We as [a] business focus on what we can control, which is our strategy, our ability to deliver globally.”
Asked directly whether being part of the EU was better for Tata’s businesses in the UK, which include Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel, Mr Kumar said: “For our UK operations, definitely.
“Why is that? Because it is easier to export stuff out of here [Britain], you don’t have to do the paperwork as much, you don’t have any import duties.
“That is the reason, it is not rocket science.”