Commonwealth Trade – featuring India

Commonwealth Trade – featuring India

Commonwealth Trade – featuring India

A view by Keith Stokes-Smith, President of the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Birmingham Commonwealth association

India is a nation which regularly and rightly receives positive reports in relation to trade potential and a country which I am sure, as the shift in trade moves east of Europe, will feature significantly over the next few decades.

Yet, ironically, the UK lags behind a number of countries when it comes to recognising India’s potential. Germany, the USA and Japan already export more to India by far than the UK does.

According to Standard Chartered Bank in a report it recently published showing trade potential between the G7 and a list of nations referred to as the E7 (Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam and India, (and I quote) “the UK has much to gain from looking further afield to these nations. Specifically, two countries, one being India, represent sizeable growth opportunities for the UK.” Sizeable growth opportunities.

A report by Ernst and Young concluded, “large populations and rapid economic growth mean China and India will become powerhouses of middle class consumerism over the next two decades.” And let’s remember the size of the customer base in India: 1.3 billion people! English is the language of business and that certainly is the case in India.

So, given all of the above, why are we not trading more with India?

It has to be acknowledged that bi lateral trade and investment between India and the UK has been increasing considerably. However, the focus to date has been on large companies and multinationals. India now correctly recognises that it is time to focus on the SME sector.

Why export, business may ask? Well there is often less competition overseas than you may find in the UK; the UK market for your product or service may be fully exploited; Overheads can be and in the case of India, will be much lower; by exporting you are spreading your risk and, of course, the more you export there is potential for greater economies of scale.

SMEs who are minded to export or further export should certainly look to this land of opportunity. Support should be possible from your local Department for International Trade and indeed the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce

And let’s remind ourselves again of the size of the customer base in India. Representing over 50% of the 53 commonwealth nations added together of 2.4 billion people, India has a population of 1.3 billion.

We, the UK, Greater Birmingham and Birmingham need to be there, ahead of other G7 countries, supporting India’s economy and capturing our share of the opportunities which arise and which we can help create. Opportunity knocks, the door is open, trade opportunities await.

The Indian Consulater General’s Office in Birmingham will be giving a short presentation about trading with India at the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce on the morning of Friday 21 Sept. Call 0121 607 1826 to book a space.

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