The delegation, led by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, will visit Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Delhi to promote opportunities for bilateral trade and investment between India, the West Midlands, and the wider UK.
The trade mission seeks to cement existing economic ties between India’s sub-regions and the West Midlands. Senior representatives will explore potential partnerships in areas including emerging digital technologies, low carbon mobility and data-driven healthcare, with the common objective of creating more prosperous communities in both the UK and in India.
The West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC) and partners including the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), have organised a series of meetings and events which will bring together senior figures from leading Indian businesses. These include multinational manufacturer Tata Group, motorcycle manufacturer TVS, automotive manufacturing group Mahindra & Mahindra, low carbon transport manufacturer Switch Mobility, business service provider Firstsource and Air India. The UK delegation will visit a number of key industry hubs, including Hyderabad-based T-Hub and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
Alongside Mayor Andy Street, the delegation will be led by Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of Wolverhampton City Council and include senior representatives from the West Midlands Growth Company (WMGC); the Department for International Trade (DIT); the University of Birmingham; Warwick Manufacturing Group; Birmingham Airport; Birmingham City University; Bruntwood; Kagool; Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Manufacturing Technology Centre and the British Kabaddi League. The delegation will be supported on the ground by Alan Gemmell, His Majesty's Trade Commissioner for South Asia and the British Deputy High Commissioner for Western India; Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner; and Andrew Fleming, Deputy High Commissioner in Hyderabad.
With a ‘living bridge’ of nearly 200,000 ethnic Indians living and working in the region, the West Midlands and India already enjoy a strong relationship, rooted in a shared cultural heritage and strong economic links. India is the UK’s second largest source of investment in terms of number of projects, and the West Midlands represents a significant portion of Indian FDI into the UK, with 57% of Indian investment into the UK in 2020 located in the West Midlands.
The region has already attracted some of India’s biggest companies, including Tata Motors, State Bank of India, Infosys, OLA, Enzen Global, Suprajit Group, Elder Pharmaceuticals, Microland, BSA, Switch Mobility and Firstsource.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:
“As the UK seeks to deepen our relationship with India through a Free Trade Agreement, we are delighted to be meeting the Indian business community to showcase why the West Midlands is the ideal investment destination for high-growth, tech-driven Indian companies.
“The West Midlands has been the UK region of choice for India’s trail-blazing companies across automotive, manufacturing and technology, due to our world-leading R&D infrastructure, industrial ecosystem, and wealth of specialist talent. There is now an opportunity for the West Midlands and India to collaborate even more closely to advance new technologies and innovations, in particular to support the green transition, benefitting both our societies and economies.”
Cllr Ian Brookfield, Portfolio Lead for Economy and Innovation at the West Midlands Combined Authority and City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, said:
“The City of Wolverhampton and India have a long track record of collaboration, working closely together over the past decade to boost two-way investment, explore new opportunities around shared areas of strength and promote each other’s respective business interests. Indian-owned companies represent some of the largest businesses in Wolverhampton, from Jaguar Land Rover to Tata Steel, and our cultural ties run deep – most recently demonstrated through the launch of the British Kabaddi League in Wolverhampton. The West Midlands India Partnership is a bedrock on which this visit will build, as we seek to enhance our bilateral relations even further.”
Alan Gemmell, His Majesty's Trade Commissioner for South Asia, said:
“Trade between the UK and India is already worth over £24bn, which supports nearly half a million jobs in each other’s economies – many of those in the West Midlands. I’m delighted that Mayor Andy Street is visiting India to deepen links with top Indian investors and to find more opportunities for great firms from the West Midlands to export to India, creating jobs and growth in both countries.”
This trade mission has been organised as part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Business and Tourism Programme (BATP), which will build on the profile created by the Commonwealth Games to attract visitors, trade, events and investment into Birmingham, the West Midlands and the UK from nations and territories across the Commonwealth, including India.
With an economy worth £105bn, the West Midlands region includes three thriving cities – Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, with Birmingham home to more international companies than any other major English city outside London. In 2019, the West Midlands generated an export value of £32 billion – the largest region by value outside of London and the South-East of the UK.
BATP is sponsored by Airbnb, Dettol, Bruntwood, E.ON, Gowling WLG, University of Birmingham and Lendlease.