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No 10 urged to name Indian Trade Envoy

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The British government urged to appoint a dedicated trade envoy to India, one who has the connections and clout in both countries to prepare the ground for trade deals. There are already such envoys to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but the Indian role is currently vacant….reports Asian Lite News

A prominent socio-political forum associated with the ruling Conservative party has called to name a trade envoy to boost Indo-UK business relations.

In an article appeared at Conservative Home, written by Dr Rami Ranger, co-chairmen of Conservative Friends of India (CFI), and Captain Jay Singh-Sohal, Director of Communications for CFI, urged the Government to appoint a dedicated trade envoy to India, one who has the connections and clout in both countries to prepare the ground for trade deals.

“There are already such envoys to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but the Indian role is currently vacant,” they said in the article.

Witham MP Priti Patel promoted Indo-UK community relations on a big way when she was Indian Diaspora Champion during the term of David Cameron at No 10. As the Brexit talks enter the crucial phase, the business sector in the UK is concern about Britain’s relations with its Commonwealth partners.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 10 Downing Street (Photo – PIB)

“India’s investment here (Britain) includes renowned brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Tetley Tea and Typhoo, as well as investments in the IT industry and the Port Talbot steel works in Wales,” the newly appointed CFI leaders said in the column.

“According to the Grant Thornton India Tracker 2016, Indian companies in the UK have a turnover of more than £26 billion and employ more than 110,000 people (36 per cent of these in the automotive industry, and 35 per cent in industrial products).

“UK exports to India peaked at around £8 billion in 2013 but have since dipped by nearly £3 billion. It is a sad reflection that Belgium exports twice as much to India. To address this, Liam Fox announced in January 2018 that UK Export Finance, the official export credit agency,  would make £4.5 billion available for trade including £2.75 billion in support for UK companies exporting to India and for Indian buyers of UK goods and services.

The British Sikh Association onboard of HMS VICTORY (File)

“But there is still more to be done to meet the immense potential for further growth in a post-Brexit world, when you consider that the Indian market is worth more than £200 billion. We must act quickly to capitalise on these opportunities and to strike a free trade deal with the subcontinent.

“A good place to start would be for the Government to appoint a dedicated trade envoy to India, one who has the connections and clout in both countries to prepare the ground for trade deals. There are already such envoys to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but the Indian role is currently vacant.

“We are in a good position to make headway, as one of the key factors behind our enduring connection to India is our people – those migrant communities of which we are proud to form a part, that have successfully integrated into the UK and prospered while maintaining our cultural and familial roots with the land of our forebears. It is people that will drive our deeper connection with not just India but fellow Commonwealth nations.”