Events curated to help boost trade with India ahead of the Commonwealth Games

In anticipation of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, a programme of events has been created to increase trade and investment between India and the West Midlands.

The virtual event is taking place during the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in India from the 12th – 15th January in an effort to bring together political leaders, investors, business leaders and cultural icons to mark the games as a ‘once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance shared economic ambitions’.

A virtual showcase took place on Wednesday with names across Indian industries, hearing from government stakeholders, including Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to the Republic of India and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands. These discussions will build on the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership.

Alan Gemmell, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia, said: “The UK and India’s strong economic bond is already worth over £18bn in 2020, supporting nearly half a million jobs. However, now that we are out of the EU we have set an ambitious target to double this value by 2030.

“While we negotiate and develop a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the West Midlands’ world-leading cluster of automotive research facilities and manufacturing ecosystem is already the home of many innovative Indian companies. Our meetings will help to enhance these partnerships and develop new collaborations around green transport and the future of mobility.”

The Department for International Trade (DIT), in partnership with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), will host an online roundtable connecting UK and Indian business leaders in order to discuss an increase in trade and investment within the existing West Midlands to India corridor.

Indian businesses and investors will then be invited to the West Midlands during the Games and there will be a mayoral-led delegation to India in autumn to build on opportunities for trade and investment. Key areas that will be focused on are, technology, creative, professional services, future mobility and the healthcare sectors.

57% of Indian investment into the UK in 2020 was made in the West Midlands. The region is home to 76 recorded Indian FDIs worth more than £3.5bn in the future mobility, creative technologies and modern business service sectors and employs more than 13,000 people.

Companies such as Tata Motors, State Bank of India, Infosys, OLA, Enzen Global, Suprajit Group, Elder Pharmaceuticals and more recently, BSA and Microland have settled in the region.

Jaguar Land Rover is a member of the Tata family and Dave Owen, the executive director for global purchasing and supply chain at Jaguar Land Rover said JLR were immensely proud to be a member.

He said the West Midlands: “Is the hub of our international technology, engineering, R&D and manufacturing footprint, thanks to its enviable pool of specialist talent, excellent connectivity and transport links and highly capable industrial ecosystem.

“The wider economic and social advantages of nurturing strong relationships with India are compelling. Trade and investment create growth, jobs and regional prosperity, while close ties forged with Indian business enable greater UK access to some of the world’s leading players in technology, communication and software – which in turn benefit from the deep industrial expertise and innovation capability, for which the West Midlands is well known.”

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The West Midlands is the UK’s leading location for attracting FDI outside of London, with a number of India’s biggest names in the automotive, manufacturing and financial services sectors choosing to locate their UK operations here.

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games provides a real opportunity for the UK and India to build on these strong economic ties, as well as celebrate the region’s vast Indian heritage, with a ‘living bridge’ of nearly 200,000 ethnic Indians who live and work in the West Midlands.”

The Queen’s Baton is travelling to all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth over 294 days in anticipation of the Games.