HC Deb 06 December 1995 vol 268 cc369-70
22. Mr. Merchant

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on trade with India. [2621]

Mr. Nelson

Trade with India has increased by some 50 per cent. in both directions in the past three years. United Kingdom exports to India amounted to £1.5 billion in the 12 months to the end of September this year. UK imports from India in the same period amounted to £1.3 billion. The Indo-British partnership—set up following the Prime Minister's visit to India in 1993—has contributed greatly to the strengthening of trade relations between the UK and India.

Mr. Merchant

Does my hon. Friend agree that the major expansion in the telecommunications network in India offers exciting prospects for British exporters? Will he encourage his hon. Friends to do all that they can to back British industry in winning exports there, and will he also encourage his Ministers to emulate the excellent example of the Minister for Science and Technology, my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor), who is to visit India tonight to promote British interests?

Mr. Nelson

The answer is yes, yes, yes. As my hon. Friend knows, my hon. Friend the Minister for Science and Technology is being dispatched to India this very night to do just that. Department of Trade and Industry Ministers are into India. It was my first port of call on my appointment. As I have said, my hon. Friend is going there tonight. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade will visit India early next year, and they will both do exactly what my hon. Friend asks.