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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 13:42 GMT
UK aims to double Indian trade
UK trade minister, Patricia Hewitt, Condederation of India Industry (CII) President Ashok Soota (C) and Andhra Pradesh state Major Industries Minister Vidhya Dhar Rao
Patricia Hewitt wants the UK to be a gateway to Europe
The British Trade Minister, Patricia Hewitt, has said efforts should be made to double trade with India over the next five years.

Ms Hewitt told a conference in Hyderabad that trade between the two countries was now running at about 5bn ($8bn) a year.

That's already twice as much as a decade earlier, but Ms Hewitt wants the figure to reach 10bn by 2008.

The minister added that she hoped more British investment in India would create new business opportunities benefitting both countries.

Ms Hewitt is in Hyderabad to attend the meeting of the Indo-British Partnership which aims to promote bilateral trade and investment.

She also noted that India was becoming an increasingly important investor in Britain, with 350 companies operating in the UK.

Thai gateway

Later this week, Ms Hewitt will travel to Thailand in order to work on improving trade relations there.

"Thailand is increasingly being seen as the gateway to South East Asia," she said ahead of her trip.

"I want to encourage UK companies not only to boost their trade but also to share their expertise, their quality products and their innovative ideas with the region as a whole."

And the Department of Trade and Industry is hoping that the UK, in turn, will be considered as a gateway into Europe.

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  ON THIS STORY
  Mohit Sarobar, Confederation of Indian Industry
"By protecting our industries and being a closed economy we have, over the years, lost out"
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