30/01/2002

Indian high commission workshop promotes business

A top diplomat and a senior representative of Indian industry have both urged Northern Ireland companies to grasp the "massive business opportunity" for local products and professional services in the world's fourth biggest marketplace.

Over 30 senior executives of Northern Ireland companies were briefed about the India market at a special workshop organised by Trade International (TINI), the export and trade arm of the Industrial Development Board, in conjunction with the Indian High Commission in London.

Keynote speakers at the Belfast event were H.S. Puri, the Deputy High Commissioner, Mohit Sarabar, the Director of the UK office of the influential Confederation of Indian Industry, and Norman King from the British Embassy in New Delhi.

Mr Puri told the workshop that Northern Ireland companies could benefit from India's "best ever" relationship with the United Kingdom and its dynamic economy, which grew by almost six per cent last year. Trade between the UK and India would exceed £6 billion over the next two-years.

The Indian government is actively promoting trade by lowering import tariffs and is committed to other measures that will help to sustain long-term economic growth.

The event, chaired by Bill McGinnis, Chairman of the McAvoy Group of Dungannon, and introduced by Alan Hingston, TINI Executive Director, also featured presentations about India by Diljit Rana, an Indian-born Northern Ireland businessman, and Manoj Ladwa, a specialist in Indian commercial law.

Philip Steele, Marketing Director of Bangor-based Denman International, outlined how this company had developed significant business throughout India since taking part in an IDB-backed trade mission in 1996.

Commenting on the workshop, Mr Hingston said: "The event was held to help local companies prepare for a trade mission to India that Trade International has scheduled for later this year. As the world's fourth largest economy India presents a huge business opportunity for Northern Ireland companies across a broad range of sectors.

"Specific opportunities have been identified in sectors such as information technology, biotechnology, medicare, telecommunications, education and training, infrastructural upgrading, environmental improvement and power generation."

Representatives from around 20 Northern Ireland companies participated in the India market seminar. (SP)

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