By Claire West

Business Secretary Vince Cable has this week announced the new membership of the Asia Task Force, which will advise the UK Government on how to boost trade with Asia.

A meeting of the Asia Task Force will take place later today, chaired by Dr. Cable alongside private-sector chair Lord Powell of Bayswater. It will discuss measures to strengthen exports and inward investment.

The Task Force brings together experts from industry, education and government, and has been refreshed to reflect the importance of inward investors, as well as exporters, to the UK’s business relationship with Asia. New members include Syed Anwar Hasan, Managing Director of Tata Ltd, and Sir Kevin Smith CBE, Chief Executive of GKN plc.
The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said:

“The Asia Task Force will provide expert, honest advice on how we can deepen our relationship with the growing Asian markets. It boasts an exceptional calibre of expertise drawn from the UK and Asia, for which I am grateful.

“UK exports to Asia more than doubled in value between 1998 and 2008, while the region’s economy has grown faster still. These markets will be a vital route to growth for many UK companies, and the Coalition Government is committed to focusing ever more strongly on them.”

Of the 24,000 UK businesses helped by UK Trade & Investment in 2009, around 40% were targeting growing markets such as Asia.

Foreign Secretary William Hague this month announced that there would be a visit to India led by Prime Minster David Cameron soon. Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne has visited China and Korea, and the Foreign Secretary has visited China and Japan.

UKTI is hosting a series of events around the UK on behalf of the Asia Task Force over 2010-11 to galvanise more British businesses into exploring the opportunities in Asia. These continue this autumn and into early 2011. More information is available at www.businessinasia.co.uk.

The full membership of the Asia Task Force is as follows:

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Co-Chair)

Lord Powell of Bayswater KCMG (Private Sector Co-Chair)

Mr Phillip Bouverat, Director of Global Accounts, JCB

Sir David Brewer CMG, Chairman, China-Britain Business Council

Mr Samir Brikho, Chief Executive Officer, AMEC plc

Mr Tudor Brown, President, ARM Holdings plc

Mr Graham Cartledge CBE, Chairman, Benoy

Ms Maggie Choo, Director International Business Development & Marketing, Alibaba.com Europe Ltd

Mr Miles Cowdry Director, Global Corporate Development, Rolls Royce plc

Mr Philip Dilley, Group Chairman, Arup

Mr Akio Fukui, CEO, Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe

Sir Bill Gammell, Chief Executive, Cairn Energy plc

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor, University of Nottingham

Mr Syed Anwar Hasan, Managing Director,Tata Limited

Rt. Hon. Patricia Hewitt, Chair, UK-India Business Council

Mr Stephen King, Group Chief Economist and Global Head of Economics and Asset Allocation Research, HSBC Bank plc

Dr Cho Khong, Chief Political Analyst, Shell International

Mr Richard Lambert, Director-General, Confederation of British Industry

Professor Peter Nolan CBE, Sinyi Professor, Judge Business School and Chair of Development Studies, University of Cambridge

Dr Gareth Price, Head of Asia Programme, Royal Institute of International Affairs

Mr Shabir Randeree, Executive Chairman, DCD Group

Mr Christian Salbaing, Deputy Chairman, Hutchinson Whampoa (Europe) Ltd

Professor Lord Nick Stern, Chair, Asia Research Centre,
London School of Economics and Political Science

Sir Kevin Smith CBE, Chief Executive, GKN plc

Ms Parminder Vir OBE, Director, PVL Media Consultants

Mr Victor Zhang, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Huawei UK & Ireland

UK-Asia fact file:

oThe IMF estimates that Asia will grow at 7.1 per cent in 2010 and that growth will maintain a similar pace in 2011 (IMF, April, 2010). China and India will lead Asia’s growth, with 10 percent and 8.8 percent in 2010, respectively.

oThe 12 key Asian markets covered by the Asia Task Force accounted for £23.2bn (10.3 per cent) of exports of goods in 2009, and £18.1bn of the UK’s exports of services in 2008.

oThe UK’s five biggest export markets in Asia for goods in 2009 were China (£5.1bn), Hong Kong (£3.5bn), Japan (3.4bn), India (£2.9bn), Singapore (£2.9bn).

oThe UK’s biggest export markets in Asia for services in 2008 were Japan (£5bn), Singapore (£3.5bn), China (£2.5bn), Hong Kong (£2.1bn) and India (£1.8bn).

oVietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Philippines are among the top 10 global emerging markets, which businesses are considering entering over the next five years, apart from the BRICs (according to a survey of over 540 companies commissioned by UKTI in September 2009 Survive and Prosper: Emerging Markets in the Global Recession')

oThe EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement is expected to yield benefits worth around half a billion pounds benefit to the UK economy.