UK government eyes NRI route to Indian market

23 Jul 2008


Mumbai: Trade authorities in the UK are planning to enlist businessmen  of Indian origin in Birmingham, Leicester and other areas to help open and pursue trade opportunities in India, home minister Liam Byrne and the UK Trade and Investment Department said in a report.

The report, which focuses on Birmingham in the West Midlands, that has a large presence of people of Indian-origin, said the thriving immigrant business community in various parts of the country could play a leading role in helping UK companies to do business in India.

''For some West Midlands companies and organisations, India currently falls into the `too difficult' category - one to watch for now, but not yet familiar or easy enough for those more used to the regulation and certainty of Europe,'' the report said.

The report said there are business groups such as the Minority Business Forum and the Institute of Asian Businesses in West Midlands whose members already understood India well.

These business groups and their associates could play an important role in offering advice to bodies such as the chambers of commerce, it said.

''It is important to ensure that both ethnic and non-ethnic business groups interact fully with each other and share information as widely as possible, so that the relative business advantages of each group may be shared and developed,'' it said.

For UK-India trade, which is currently worth £8.7 billion, and is growing at 10 per cent a year, help from NRI businessmen could prove vital.

With more and more UK businessmen and professionals moving to India, the UK-India Business Council is also launching 'cultural briefing' sessions to them under its `Insight India' banner.

British businessmen and professionals are also being taught Indian etiquettes like saying 'Namaste' and greeting Indian women.

India is witnessing a huge intellectual capital flow from the UK, with Indian companies recruiting Britons at all levels, from new graduate to senior management.

There are already over 32,000 Britons who reside in India and the number is growing steadily, according to the British Council.

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