India has the worlds second highest population and geographically the seventh largest country. It has an estimated GDP in 2007 of almost US$ 3 trillion from a population of just over one billion.
A country of historic trade routes and commercial wealth for much of its long history and in recent years India has grown to become the UK’s second largest trading partner (behind the USA). India is the UK’s biggest export market among the developing countries. The opportunities for business are huge.
Interestingly, the Indian economy is booming with the result that the Rupee has strengthened by 25% in the last year and the rapidly expanding middle-class has topped 300 million. In the short term this means a huge demand for manufactured products ranging from cars to electronic goods, which will be interest UK exporters.
In the long term, local manufacturers will grow to meet this demand and these same manufacturers will look to export markets. The potential for India as a major supplier to the UK is exciting and anyone investing time now to forge links will have a head start on the long term benefits.
You must invest time and be prepared for slow progress to build long lasting relationships with clients and suppliers alike
You will find Indian business culture to be polite and formal. Using titles, surnames and the exchanging of business cards is normal. Decision making is usually only at the top level in any company.
There are no complicated procedures for exporting to India, although your client may have quite high duty rates to contend with. Selling is perhaps easiest on a CFR basis – you will choose the carrier and pay all charges up to arrival at the port in India.
Buying from India can be on an FOB basis – you choose the carrier and pay all charges from the Indian port of export up to your door. Or you can buy on a CFR basis giving the seller the option of choosing the carrier.
In both options, choosing the carrier will give you the opportunity to fix costs for the carriage and also keep you in control of this important element of the transaction.
Choose a carrier that can show experience in the market you are interested in, one with established connections overseas. A good Freight Forwarder can help and give advice in all aspects of trade. BIFA (British International Freight Association) www.bifa.org can provide lists of members that can help.