By Max Clarke

Business Secretary Vince Cable is co-chairing trade talks in India today with Commerce Minister Anand Sharma that will develop the enhanced partnership between the UK and India.

Speaking ahead of the Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting in Delhi, Dr. Cable said:

“The business relationship between the UK and India is both deep and wide-ranging. I’m pleased to see so many UK companies taking part in these talks. They illustrate our commitment to taking our relationship forward and mark a successful next step in developing the UK’s enhanced partnership with India.”

Dr. Cable stressed the importance of international trade talks.

“The UK strongly supports the conclusion of an ambitious EU Free Trade Agreement with India. The long-term benefits would be considerable. We need to keep momentum up and this and on the Doha round,” he said.

Over 50 UK companies are taking part in the JETCO talks with Indian companies and policymakers, which will cover the areas of advanced manufacturing, innovation, retail, education and skills, infrastructure, banking, insurance, intellectual property and low carbon.

Bilateral trade is worth around £11.5bn, with 17% of India’s exports to the EU going to the UK. And in the months to October 2010, UK exports to India increased by 35% relative to the same period the previous year.

JETCO talks

• There are around 700 Indian companies with investments in the UK, and the UK receives more than 50% of India’s investment into Europe.

• Major UK retail brands in India include Marks & Spencer, Pavers England, The Body Shop, Debenhams, Next, Accessorize and Mothercare.

• Major Indian corporates present in UK include: Tata, Wipro, Infosys, HCL, United Breweries, Bharat Forge, Nicholas Piramal, ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank and Religare.

• UKTI helped around 3,000 UK companies do business in India last year, the vast majority of which were SMEs. UKTI has a network of almost 90 staff deployed around the country.

• The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) linked 375 schools in the UK and India and has established 14 joint programmes in the professional and technical sector.