By Daniel Hunter
Britain's largest business organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has re-opened its office in New Delhi to support its members in market, as well as forge and deepen their business links with India
The CBI India office will give UK businesses valuable insights into what is happening in the Indian market and act as a key enabler for doing business in the country.
The New Delhi office will be headed by Policy Director, Shehla Raza Hasan. She will be supported by Mark Runacres, the CBI’s India Adviser, who has kept the CBI flag flying in India over the last three years.
Prior to joining the CBI, Ms Hasan had been leading inward investment work for UK Trade & Investment for Eastern and North Eastern India at the British Deputy High Commission in Kolkata. She started her career as a corporate news reporter in Business Standard, one of India’s leading business dailies. She then spent four years working at the Indian Chamber of Commerce and had a brief stint as Consulting Editor, EEPC Ltd.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Hasan said:
“I am honoured to be part of the CBI’s important international footprint. There is a huge potential between the UK and India to do business and our task is to prise open these opportunities and deepen the bilateral economic relationship.”
CBI Deputy Director-General, Neil Bentley said:
“Shehla’s invaluable knowledge and insight of India’s business landscape will help the CBI continue to support UK firms in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
“Bringing a wealth of experience from the Indian Chamber of Commerce and UKTI, Shehla’s appointment means we can take a major step forward to build on our strong presence in the country.”
Topics at the top of CBI India's agenda include the Indian regulatory environment, international trade and investment, education & skills, climate change-related business opportunities and private public sector partnerships. The CBI is also focussed on greater economic liberalisation of sectors such as retail, banking and financial and professional services.
The office in New Delhi will primarily represent the interests of British business in India, but will also engage with internationally-focussed Indian businesses. Furthermore, it will support CBI member companies and senior representatives of the CBI on their visits to India, either independently or in conjunction with the UK Government or broader business delegations.
CBI India will liaise closely with the British High Commission, UK India Business Council, the British Business Groups in Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere in India, counterpart organisations and specifically the CII and FICCI, as well as organisations representing the interests of international businesses in India.
The Confederation of British Industry is the UK’s leading business representative organisation speaking for some 240,000 businesses — small, medium and large and across all sectors of business from manufacturing, services, retail, construction, leisure and tourism, utilities, transport and energy — that together employ around a third of the private sector workforce in the UK.
Its mission is to help create and sustain the conditions in which business can compete and prosper both within the UK and in the international market-place. The CBI is a private sector, not-for-profit organisation, and has no political allegiances.
The India office operates under the CBI’s international directorate which consists of the China office in Beijing which opened in 2005 and the US office in Washington DC which opened in 2002. The CBI has had a presence in Brussels since 1971.
The UK and India are among the top investors in each other’s economies bringing significant long term benefits to both.
In 2011, UK India Bilateral trade grew by 26% bringing the total to £16.4 bn (£13 bn in 2010). In 2011, the UK attracted 81 new projects from India generating 5,454 jobs. India is the 5th largest investor in the UK. In 2011 UK exports to India increased by 29% making India, the UK’s largest non EU market.
The UK aims to double its bilateral trade with India by 2015. India seeks to increase its bilateral trade with the UK to £24 billion by 2015.
The UK is by far the most popular business destination in Europe for Indian companies, of the 1200 Indian companies in the EU, 700 are in the UK. The CBI believes this bond, which is one of the most significant and profitable bilateral trade partnerships in the world, can be made even stronger.
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