Wales eyes business collaboration with Indian firms
Saturday, 16 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
CHENNAI: A business team from the British region of Wales has left Tamil Nadu after looking for joint ventures and partners, especially in the IT, telecommunications and electronics sectors. The Wales Trade International (WTI) delegation from the overseas trade arm of the National Assembly for Wales was here Thursday and Friday to explore collaborations with local companies. It had earlier visited Mumbai. In both Mumbai and Chennai, the Welsh team held a wide range of discussions with members of chambers of commerce and trade associations, including the film industry. WTI mission leader Robert Lock, the deputy director for international trade development, said this was the third visit by a Welsh trade body to India and the second since WTI was formed by the independent national assembly in 1999. The first trade team from Wales came to India several years ago, following which there was a lull in the progress of business relations. Only Cardiff University of Wales maintained continued contact by admitting Indian students. A WTI team that came to India in February this year found tremendous response, prompting the trade body to return with added strength. "Welsh firms that were in India in February visited Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi and have reported winning orders worth around a quarter of a million pounds and are hopeful of a further 6.2 million pounds," Lock told IANS here. "This speaks volumes about the quality of meetings they had with Indian firms here. Bilateral trade between India and the U.K. is already around five billion pounds and we hope this visiting WTI team is as successful as the last one." The mission has been organised with the support of Trade Partners U.K., Britain's export promotion body. Lock said WTI brings together the overseas trade work carried out by the Wales assembly and the Welsh Development Agency to provide support services to Welsh businesses looking to establish themselves in overseas markets. India is one of WTI's target markets, he added. He also for the first time, WTI had included Cardiff University in its team because education for international students was becoming good business for Wales. In Mumbai, the team from the land of Richard Burton and D.H. Lawrence had talks with film associations to promote Wales as a shooting and processing destination for Bollywood. "The government of Wales is also interested in joint ventures in the healthcare sector for the disabled, in providing equipment for the disabled," Lock said. "Wales has traditionally been the land of coal and steel but now we are switching to new economies which will help our GDP grow."