The Hindu BusinessLine: March, 2014
Kochi: The United Kingdom is looking at trade partnerships with the Kerala Government in a big way in sectors such as healthcare, education and infrastructure, Bharat Joshi, Deputy High Commissioner, United Kingdom Trade and Investment, Chennai, has said.
UK’s association with Kerala has been growing since the Emerging Kerala event was held in 2012 and we continue to build on that in many areas such as advanced engineering, ICT, promoting a green agenda and several others, he told reporters here on Friday.
The State, he said, offers a great potential in attracting visitors from UK, which is higher than any other country.
Likewise, as many as 14,000 travellers from Kochi had applied for UK visas in 2013.
Joshi, who was here to participate in the Great British Festival, said UK has opened a new Visa Application Centre in Kochi that offers Keralites better access and improved service experience. Business is a two-way street. Britain offers one of the most open, vibrant global economies, and is located ideally to grow internationally. That is why we are keen to encourage companies to invest in the UK, he said.
Referring to the bilateral trade between India and UK, he said exports to India from UK were up by 14 per cent and India’s exports to UK registered a two per cent growth last year.
The UK is the biggest European Union investor in India.
T P Thomas Kutty, Executive Director, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, (KSIDC) said the joint partnership between Kerala and UK offers good scope for developing skills and initiatives. KSIDC is keen to support these ventures by working as a perfect platform to facilitate those plans. Tourism is one such area which can be developed between the two regions for mutual cooperation given the growth in the sector, he added.
C P Mammen, President, Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is partnering the event, identified sectors such as infrastructure, creative and digital media, financial services and retail where UK could offer its innovation and expertise to expand trade and business relations between the two regions.