By Kate Madley

The first day of the India-UK SME Business Conference was hosted in Cardiff’s Park Plaza yesterday.

The conference was hosted as the first ever honorary consul for India in Wales was appointed, Cardiff businessman Raj Aggarwal.

The conference focussed on the importance of building bilateral trade between the two nations with the Indian High Commissioner Jaimini Bhagwati and First Minister Carwyn Jones addressing the delegates.

The Indian High Commissioner suggested the volume of Indian trade was small when comparing it to the UK’s trade with the rest of the world. India wants to grow this trade with expansion for all businesses including SMEs.

“The basic fundamentals of the Indian economy are strong, with investment being more than 30% of GDP. So under these circumstances I don’t see why it’s not possible for India to move forward,” said Jaimini Bhagwati.

Indian-owned companies in Wales like Tata were also discussed by the High Commissioner, highlighting their importance to the Welsh economy with Tata operating in six sites in Wales, Port Talbort, Caerphilly, Llanwern, Shotton, Cross Keys and Trostre.

First Minister Carwyn Jones in his address said the Welsh Government wanted to promote opportunities for Welsh businesses in India, he continued to say Wales wanted to work with Indian businesses to attract more SME investment.

“Trade creates prosperity and promotes opportunity,” said Wales’s First Minister. “I’ve spoken of skills development with Indian ministers which is where Wales has strengths in its training institutions and we see this as an area for increased co-operation in the future.”

Bilateral trade between the UK and India had increased by £2bn to £11.8bn from 2010-11 with British businesses seeing a 40% increase in exports to India.

Last month as part of our India ‘Season Focus’ Wales World Wide discussed opportunities for Welsh providers to train 500 million people in ten years. To remind yourself of these opportunities click here