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Northern Ireland-India trade gets a boost

May 28, 2008 10:50 IST
Northern Ireland's growing trade links with India have received a further boost with the appointment of two Bangalore and New Delhi-based advisory companies to help expansion and growth.

Northern Ireland is fast emerging as one of the most prominent trading regions of Britain with Indian companies investing there and Northern Ireland companies winning major contracts in India.

Invest Northern Ireland, a regional development agency, has recruited the Bangalore-based Feedback Consulting Services and the New Delhi-based T&A Trade Consultants, to catalyse the region's trade ties with India.

The announcement was made at a 'Doing Business in India' seminar in Belfast attended by 50 local companies this week.

The new trade advisers, K Shankar of Feedback Consulting's Mumbai office, and T&A's Turan Gupta, will work with Barry Clarke, Invest NI's Regional Director in India, to strengthen business with the sub-continent.

"The trade advisers will provide expert guidance and support to local companies in the dynamic Indian marketplace.

This will involve pinpointing new market opportunities for our companies and then helping them to take the necessary steps to bid for the business," Alan Hingston, Invest NI's trade director, said.

"They are an integral part of our network of trade advisers who are providing practical advice and support to help smaller companies in particular to increase export sales. This support network also includes the US, Europe, the Middle East and China," he added.

A Northern Ireland trade mission is also scheduled to visit India from 20 to 27 September.  Earlier this month, Indian BPO major Firstsource had announced its plans to create more than 800 jobs in Northern Island.

Firstsource, which operates from two bases in Northern Ireland, is among the number of Indian companies like HCL, Polaris, PixTransmission and Tech Mahindra who have chosen to set up offices in the region.

The company announced around 300 of the new jobs will be in Londonderry where the company already employs 350. The remaining 500 jobs will be based in the company's European Centre of Excellence, which is being established in the region.

The company, which set up office in the region in 2006, employs 550 people in Belfast. The investment by the company is being backed by 6.7 million pounds grant aid from Invest Northern Ireland.

Philip Steele, sales director with Denman International in Bangor, outlined how the company, now a world leader in professional hair salon products including brushes, had joined forces with Brushman, an Indian business, to manufacture a range of brushes in a modern factory at Pantnagar, in Uttarakhand.

David Hutchinson, a director of AESSEAL MCK in Lisburn, explained how the company has increased its competitiveness in key international markets by means of a manufacturing joint venture in Mumbai with ACW.         

Prasun Sonwalkar in London