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UK Minister Hugo Swire meets British business at the UK India Business Centre

The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and the Delhi British Business Group (BBG) have signed an MoU in the presence of the Rt. Hon. Hugo Swire, UK Minister of State for Foreign Office, in Gurgaon today. During his India visit, the Minister took a tour of the new UK India Business Centre in Gurgaon and met the UKIBC India staff.

The MoU between the UKIBC and the BBG will strengthen the support network available to British companies seeking to enter or expand into the Indian market. The MOU is part of a broader partnership between BBG Delhi and the UKIBC.

At the Centre Mr Swire met British companies including Rolls Royce, John Lewis Partnership, Standard Chartered, JCB, Pearson, BAE, HSBC, PwC, AoC, KPMG, British Airways and Rio Tinto. During a roundtable discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), participants discussed CSR initiatives in India and how their companies can promote world-class British expertise on CSR in India.

Speaking about Mr Swire’s visit and the signing of the MoU, Richard McCallum, MD, UKIBC India said, "We are delighted to host the Rt Hon. Hugo Swire to lead a discussion on the important and topical subject of CSR. We are also delighted to sign an MoU between the UKIBC and the British Business Group in Delhi, which will enhance collaboration between UKIBC and the BBG in order to provide British businesses looking to enter or expand into the Indian market with an even better support system. We currently have two BBG members on the UKIBC India Board and this MoU will serve to strengthen further our relationship with the BBG".

As part of the arrangement, BBG members will receive discounted rates for using the UKIBC Centre facilities, including hot-desking, meeting, event and training space. They will also receive complimentary market intelligence including sector and market reports from UKIBC. UKIBC members and clients will receive discounted membership of the BBG and benefit from the considerable and widespread expertise of the BBG membership in the Delhi National Capital Region. The organisations will work together on joint events, where possible using the world-class facilities at the Centre.

Mark Runacres, BBG Delhi, said, "We are delighted that UKIBC are offering BBG Delhi members these special terms. The relationship between UKIBC and the BBGs is vital in helping British businesses arriving in this country, given the wealth of experience which exists in the BBGs. We look forward to working increasingly closely with UKIBC to support the commercial relationship between the UK and India."

The UK and India enjoy particularly strong commercial bonds, with India being the third largest investor in the UK and India being the UK’s largest non-European Union market for exports. Indeed, this pivotal relationship continues to grow in strength, and in 2011, UK India bilateral trade grew by 26 per cent, bringing the total to £16.4 bn. The UK also continues to be by far the most popular business destination in Europe for Indian companies, of the 1,200 Indian companies operating in the European Union, 700 operate in the UK. The UKIBC aims to enhance UK-India bilateral trade and make it easier for British businesses, particularly SMEs, to enter India through its networks and Centres.

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