Government 'snubs' North-East business leaders on India trade mission

TRADE MISSION: Deputy PM Nick Clegg who is heading the trade mission to India. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire.

TRADE MISSION: Deputy PM Nick Clegg who is heading the trade mission to India. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire.

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

THE Government has been accused of delivering another snub to the North-East after the region's bosses were denied seats on a key trade trip to India.

The Prime Minister has asked his deputy Nick Clegg to lead a three-day visit to one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in the world.

There is strong representation from firms in London and the South-East on the trip that starts today (Monday, August 25) - but none of the 40 delegates are from the North-East.

James Ramsbotham, the chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC), said: “I think this is an opportunity missed by the Prime Minister."

It comes eight months after North-East company bosses were denied places on a landmark trade mission to China.

The latest visit will include meetings in the economic powerhouses of Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to "forge even deeper and stronger bonds between our people," and boost the £16bn of trade that takes place between the two countries every year, said Mr Clegg.

India invests more in the UK than it does in the rest of the European Union combined. This week's visit will be used to sign new deals in the aerospace and retail industries, and expand UK-India student exchange programmes.

Mr Ramsbotham was dismayed there would be no regional representation among the first UK trade delegation to meet new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.

“It is a real shame that this important trade mission to India does not include any of the North-East’s great companies or representation," said the NECC chief.

"It is a key export market for our firms and one which the NECC has been keen to promote among our members via our Access programmes.

“It is a sad fact that here is a southern bias when organising important trade missions of this nature. They are put together by people who are based in the Department of Business and the Foreign Office – and their contacts and the people they know are usually all based in London and the South-East of England," he added.

In October, the NECC and UKTI are hosting an Access visit to India to tap into new markets and help boost the £47.1m of annual exports sent from the North-East to the Subcontinent.

The World Bank predicts the Indian economy will grow by more than six per cent in the next two years.

Comments (4)

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12:35am Mon 25 Aug 14

dave3mrr says...

Anybody who thinks that the Tories give a stuff about the NE is living in a fantasy world. This is just another example of that.
Anybody who thinks that the Tories give a stuff about the NE is living in a fantasy world. This is just another example of that. dave3mrr
  • Score: 2

8:18am Mon 25 Aug 14

jewitt says...

Do they even know where it is? Judged by Cameron recent debacle they can't even distinguish Teesside from Tyneside.
Do they even know where it is? Judged by Cameron recent debacle they can't even distinguish Teesside from Tyneside. jewitt
  • Score: -1

10:03am Mon 25 Aug 14

David Lacey says...

Why should they? We don't give a stuff about them! As the above two comments show. Just like Labour, the Tories can safely ignore us. Save their money and campaign elsewhere. Well done North East - continue to shoot off your own feet.
Why should they? We don't give a stuff about them! As the above two comments show. Just like Labour, the Tories can safely ignore us. Save their money and campaign elsewhere. Well done North East - continue to shoot off your own feet. David Lacey
  • Score: 2

6:15pm Mon 25 Aug 14

Counterview says...

Why should they? Because a government should govern in the interests of the entire country - not narrow self interest. Unfortunately that's a bit too Utopian for today's politicians.
Why should they? Because a government should govern in the interests of the entire country - not narrow self interest. Unfortunately that's a bit too Utopian for today's politicians. Counterview
  • Score: 0
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