In the post-Brexit stage, the United Kingdom and India are looking into investment potentials from Assam across multiple sectors such as healthcare, ICT, food and beverage, research and scientific innovation.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Bruce Bucknell during his visit to Guwahati on Friday spoke exclusively to Northeast Now and said, “It is a great opportunity with Advantage Assam to come to the State and to meet the various people and to hear about the possibilities in the State.”
He is on a visit to Guwahati ahead of Advantage Assam as a representative of the British Government to promote investment opportunities in Britain.
“Britain actually has a big trade deficit with India but that is not necessarily a problem. We are very big investors in each other’s countries,” he added.
“Moreover, with the IT revolution and Act East Policy beginning to see results, there is real potential in dispersed manufacture,” Bucknell noted. The food processing and agri-tech is one of the major growth areas, according to Bucknell.
Earlier in the day, he interacted with local companies of Assam and Meghalaya in a round table meeting regarding investment opportunities in Britain.
“There are a lot of producers of local products who are looking to expand their market. Most of the agricultural activity is done for subsistence. But with technology, improved communications and improved knowledge, now people can get much more of their produce to the market,” Bucknell said.
In light of the review undertaken by the India UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee regarding trade between the two countries, three potential sectors were identified, namely healthcare, ICT, food and beverage.
“The tea industry is an area that we still have common interest in. But the economic model is old and it needs to change if the industry is to succeed in the 21st century by innovating and providing new products,” Bucknell said.
“The Indian diaspora in Britain is often the first foothold in the British market for Indian businesses. We are very much interested in sustainable, successful, new opportunities which need not necessarily be hi-tech,” he added. He further said, “Investment will go where it gets returns.”
“In the future after Brexit, we may look into some preferential trade agreements between India and UK for local products,” Bucknell said.
Speaking about future collaborations, Bucknell mentioned joint research programmes on green ecological issues between universities in UK and India. There is greater interest in terms of scientific research in India and to improve the net deficit in trade of services, he added.
Bruce Bucknell represents UK in 13 Indian states which includes the eight north-eastern states.