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Business News 2009
Business News->Patricia Hewitt appointed new Chair of the UK India Business Council
Patricia Hewitt appointed new Chair of the UK India Business Council

19 June 2009

Patricia HewittRight Honourable Patricia Hewitt, MP, Leicester West, has been appointed as UK India Business Council Chairperson. She will take over from Lord Bilimoria, the current Chairman, in July. Meanwhile, Lord Bilimoria will continue to lead UKIBC as its President. She was the longest-serving Secretary of State for Trade and Industry since the 1950s and previously served in the same department (now Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) as the first Minister for e-Commerce. In both roles, she attached very high priority to developing trade and business links between India and the UK, supporting the establishment of UKIBC and JETCO.

She says about the Anglo-Indian trade relationships " I'm very bullish about the UK - Indian trade relationship. With the UK and other developed countries in recession, India is one of the few major economies that is still growing, and growing substantially, even allowing for the impact of the global downturn. So there's a real opportunity for British SMEs and entrepreneurs to find new markets in India over the next year - and UKIBC is ideally placed to help them."

"India is already one of the world's most exciting knowledge-driven economies. The global downturn will accelerate the shift in the world's centre of economic gravity from West to East - and that must be reflected in the arrangements for global economic governance. For me, the most important aspect of the G20 meeting in London earlier this year was that, for the first time, India and other major emerging economies took their place on equal terms with the US, the UK and other developed countries. We can't go on with meetings of the G7 or G8 'plus' others: India, along with China and other major emerging economies must be equal partners in future."

Asked about the potential for large-scale collaborative projects, Hewitt said "I'm particularly excited about the scope for new partnerships in health and life sciences; ICT and high-value manufacturing, particularly low-carbon technologies and products; and in education. Let me give just one example: Indian generic companies are already manufacturing a low-cost 'polypill' that could dramatically reduce stroke and heart attacks amongst the over-55's. It's available in India... but not in Europe. There are barriers in Europe that we need to tackle, but huge potential for Indian companies to partner with UK firms and help deal with one of the biggest health challenges we face."

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