By Max Clarke

Business Secretary Vince Cable said today that the UK needed to rebalance its traditional trading relationships in the wake of the global economic crisis and boost trade with the new centres of global growth such as India.

He was speaking on the first day of his official visit to India in front of hundreds of business representatives at a Confederation of Indian Industry event in Mumbai, India’s economic capital.

Dr. Cable said:

“One of the most striking consequences of this crisis is that it has dramatically shifted the centre of gravity of the world economy towards what we call the emerging markets: China and India, but also Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and elsewhere…

“What the new distribution of purchasing power in the world economy means is that traditional trading relationships have to be rebalanced. Britain was in the bizarre position of exporting more to Ireland than to China, India and Japan combined. These relationships — with EU neighbours, and the US — must and will remain strong.

“However, we are clear that we must build far deeper ties with new centres of global growth, and rebalance and improve the low trade volumes with India — and this means supporting and encouraging a range of companies — large and small — to do business with and in India in the future.”

Dr. Cable is leading a delegation of 50 UK businesses in India. Today, he met the Chief Minister of Maharashtra State Prithviraj Chavan.

He also met current and potential Indian investors into the UK. India is currently the fourth largest investor in the UK by number of projects, and Indian investment generated 5,889 jobs in the UK last year.

Earlier in the day, the Business Secretary attended the launch of the Indian subsidiary of Smiths Medical Group. Smiths Medical is based in Ashford, Kent, and is part of the Smiths Group Plc., a FTSE 100 company that is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of medical devices and equipment. They have been operating in India for over two decades, but plan to increase sales with the launch of their new subsidiary.

Dr Cable said:

“This is a fine example of the business ties that we would like to see between India and the UK. The UK’s high end technology expertise is second to none in the world and companies like Smiths are a good example of this."

The total size of the Indian healthcare market is $56 billion, or 5.5% of India’s GDP. This is estimated to reach $75 billion by 2012 and $150 billion by 2017.

Separately, the Business Secretary welcomed an announcement from the UK firm Benoy that it had won contracts in India worth £1m in fees.

"The potential for UK companies in India is huge, not least in the creative industries where the UK is a world leader. Having achieved significant success around the world, Benoy is capitalising on the great opportunities offered by India and leading the way for other firms. I congratulate them on their continued success,” he said.

Benoy today announced four new contracts in India worth a combined fee value of GBP £1 million for the company.

o For Bharti Realty, the real estate arm of Bharti Enterprises, Benoy will design and deliver the 30,000m² retail portion of ‘DIAL Aerocity’ — a new commercial, hospitality and business district set to regenerate Delhi International Airport; and a 50,000m² mixed-use destination located in burgeoning ‘new Gurgaon’.

o Working with new client M3M India in Gurgaon, Benoy will create an innovative 80,000m² mixed-use retail and office development that will continue to realise the region’s growth potential.

o On a prime site in Mumbai, Benoy is set to design a premium high-end mixed-use development to include two five-star international brand hotels, world-class office space and a 35,000m² high-end retail mall.

o Benoy also announced the opening of Benoy’s ‘Pacific Mall’ for client Bansal Group. Situated in Rajouri Garden, West Delhi, the development will open on 20 January 2011.