British Business Group launched in TN

Chennai, November 27: | Updated: Nov 28 2002, 05:30am hrs
The British High Commission in Chennai on Wednesday launched the British Business Group in Tamil Nadu mainly to promote and foster trade between the UK and India with an emphasis on the promotion of activities and interests of British companies in the state and Pondicherry.

There are around 100 Indo-UK collaborations in Tamil Nadu, "the highest number in any state in south India and in a wide range of sectors", according to Mr John Dennis, director of trade and investment promotion Counsellor (Economic and Commercial) the British High Commission, New Delhi.

He said the group would provide a networking forum for its members to discuss common issues regarding their commercial interests in India. It would also establish an effective communication mechanism to enable the member's commercial concerns to be brought to the attention of the relevant Indian auhtorities, and help promote ethical business practices and awareness of local social and environmental issues.

There are in Tamil Nadu over two dozen UK automotive component manufacturers supplying a range of world-class automotive components and other products, most of them in collaboration with the TVS Group.

In the finance and insurance sector Royal and Alliance Insurance Plc has partnered with Sundaram Finance. P & O Ports has formed a special purpose vehicle to run the Chennai container terminal. The UK companies are predominantly present in the healthcare, food processing, electrical and education sectors.

British companies and their Indian subsidiaries, joint ventures, associate companies and Indian or other companies interested in establishing relations with the UK are eligible to be corporate members of the group, he said.

British citizens working for non-British companies can become associate members.

The UK-India bilateral trade in goods and services is close to 5 billion and UK is India's second largest trading partner after the US. Since 1993, after the establishment of the Indo-British partnership (IBP), over 1750 new Indo-UK joint ventures have been approved.

More than 350 Indian firms have set up operations in the UK of which 275 are from the information and communication technology sector.

Mr Dennis said there was all the possibility of increase in the presence of Indian manufacturing companies in the UK, especially in the pharmaceutical sector.