India is becoming an increasingly important economic power in the World and is now ranked as number twelve in the World by Gross Domestic Product. There are excellent opportunities for trade between the UK and India in areas such as manufacturing and financial services.
Yesterday, Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath raised the issue of visa problems with UK Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson. "We need to have clarity, uniformity and transparency in visa/work permit procedures" said Mr Kamal Nath. A significant proportion of overseas workers in the UK are from India.
Speaking at the India-UK JETCO (Joint Economic Trade Committee), Mr Nath went on to say "businesses have a very important role in the JETCO process and we look forward to inputs from businesses in these areas". He called for new and creative ways of encouraging business activities both in India and the UK in a somewhat challenging World economic environment.
Mr Mandelson said that the healthcare industry is one of the sectors that can promote trade between the two countries.
"The JETCO healthcare working group has also discussed the possibilities and it is for us to act on the suggestions. I am willing to ensure a more active dialogue between the Indian healthcare industry and the UK government, in order to arrive at a solution", he added.
Mr Kamal Nath mentioned manufacturing, financial services, skill development, and infrastructure as holding immense potential for growth in trade and investment between the two Countries. Bilateral trade between the two countries in 2007-08 was 12 billion dollars. India also received foreign direct investment of 5.03 billion dollars from the UK during 1991-2008.