Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mayor of West Yorkshire leads trade mission to India

West Yorkshire’s strong economic and cultural links with India will be strengthened as a regional trade mission led by Tracy Brabin begins.

The trade mission, running from 21-28 September, will see the Mayor meet with key businesses, cultural groups and the Indian government in Bangalore and Mumbai. This will unlock growth opportunities, encourage inward investment, create new jobs, and drive forward innovation and entrepreneurship in West Yorkshire.

She will be joined by Mark Roberts, chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Mayor will also give a high-profile address at Asia’s largest media and entertainment convention in Mumbai. Speaking to an audience of global business leaders, she will launch the West Yorkshire Creative Industries Showcase, a profile of the region’s significant creative industries to land further investment from the Indian sector which already has strong ties to West Yorkshire.

India is the second largest source of foreign direct investment into the UK after the US, with trade in goods between West Yorkshire and India estimated to be worth £363 million. Strengthening relationships with the country represents a huge opportunity for businesses in West Yorkshire.

Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “I am proud that my first international trade mission as Mayor of West Yorkshire is to India.

“Our region is home to world-class businesses and I look forward to developing even stronger links with India, so we can boost the economy in our region, the North, and the UK as a whole.

“I’ll be championing West Yorkshire’s incredible cultural and creative businesses that are leading the way to help land further investment to supporting growth and creating jobs in the region.”

The trade mission represents an ideal opportunity to build on the continued, significant investment and expansion by Indian companies in the region, with recent activity that includes:

  • India-based global streaming platform Clean Slate’s new partnership with Yorkshire Cricket, announced in May 2022, currently in the region shooting for its upcoming Netflix film “Chakda ‘Xpress”
  • The launch of global technology and business process outsourcing company Mphasis’ new UK Centre of Excellence in Leeds in 2021
  • Global tech company Mastek’s significant presence in Leeds, which includes ambitious new graduate programme alongside expansion plans
  • The Leeds-based UK headquarters and new state-of-the-art Media Centre for Prime Focus Technologies
  • The UK manufacturing site and active pharmaceutical ingredients plant for global pharmaceutical company Dr Reddy’s, based in Kirklees.
  • Filming the Bollywood movie “Gold” with Akshay Kumar in Bradford with over 2,000 local extras involved in the production

It is the first such trade mission to India by a Metro Mayor since the COVID-19 pandemic, with other Mayors expected to follow suit in the coming months.

Mark Roberts, chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added: “There is a huge opportunity to expand and deepen our relationships with India. We have already seen investment from fantastic Indian companies like Mastek, Prime Focus and Dr Reddy’s across our region and are working to secure further investment and jobs.

“We believe there is also an important role for West Yorkshire to play in the achievement of the UK-India 2030 Roadmap and the success of the Free Trade Agreement negotiations which officially started in January.”

West Yorkshire has the fastest creative sector growth outside London and Scotland, with almost 9,000 businesses employing 48,000 people and creative industries currently contributing £1.97 billion to the region’s economy.

It is seen as a strong area for growth and future opportunities with India, which the West Yorkshire Creative Industries Showcase aims to build upon.

The West Yorkshire Creative Industries Showcase contains over 30 case studies highlighting investment and partnership opportunities of the region’s diverse and innovative businesses, organisations and talent, for UK and international audiences.

The trade mission is being supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), British High Commission and HM Trade Commissioner and follows a successful visit by the Consul General of India, Dr Shashank Vikram, and senior officials from the Indian High Commission to West Yorkshire in March 2022.

The UK and Indian governments are committed to an ambitious 2030 Roadmap, which aims to double bilateral trade by 2030 to £50 billion, and the success of Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

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