CBI's New Delhi Base a Positive Step; EMERGING MARKETS

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Byline: By John Duckers Special Correspondent

A decision by the CBI to open an office in New Delhi has been welcomed by head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya.

"The CBI has always had a close relationship with the Confederation of Indian Industry," he said. "The trade relationship, with Indian investment into the UK growing and UK investment into India, is extremely important.

"I am sure this move will turn out to be a great success and prove a meeting point for industrialists," he added.

India is the second fastest emerging economy and is set to attract EUR40 billion of foreign direct investment in 2008-9. Bilateral trade with the UK stands at pounds 8.7 billion and the hope is the link can be made stronger. It is expanding fast, with GDP growing at seven to eight per cent a year.

The CBI said India was "one of the world's most exciting economies" and the new office would offer UK business leaders valuable insights into the policies, laws and economic trends shaping an emerging global powerhouse of over one billion people.

Topics on CBI India's agenda include climate change, international trade, education and skills and private public sector partnerships.

The CBI also said it was concerned about the need for greater economic liberalisation of sectors such as retail, banking and financial services.

Business leaders felt India's ever increasing opportunities and growth forecasts demanded a ramping up of the CBI's approach - although it has long been engaged with India.

Richard Lambert, CBI director-general, said: "This marks a significant milestone in our international strategy and Delhi is an important addition to our international footprint.

As well as being of growing importance as a trade and investment partner, India is also an increasingly influential player in global policy and the international business environment.

"Our presence in Delhi is a timely and exciting development and will allow us to step-up our efforts in furthering Indo-British economic partnership.

"We believe there is tremendous potential for UK and Indian businesses to derive mutual benefit and growth, and we aim to play an enabling role in strengthening this relationship. …