02182018

Top Tata man says EU good for business

Range Rover car

Image caption

Tata Group’s UK businesses include Jaguar Land Rover

One of the most senior figures at the Indian giant, Tata Group, has said that its major businesses in the UK gain from membership of the European Union.

Tata Sons Group executive council member Nirmalya Kumar told the BBC that access to the single market made trade easier with the rest of Europe.

Mr Kumar reports directly to Cyrus Mistry, the chairman of Tata Group, and is head of the group’s strategy.

“It’s not rocket science” to see that business benefits from the EU, he said.

However, he made it clear that it was for the UK government and voters to decide on whether the UK would remain in the EU.

“The fact [is] that for our British operations being part of the EU makes it easier for them to have market access and many of our investments in the past have been based on that understanding,” he said.

“Having said that, it is for the British government and the British people to decide what they want to do. We as [a] business focus on what we can control, which is our strategy, our ability to deliver globally.”

Image caption

Tata Group owns Tata Steel in the UK, as well as Tetley Tea

Asked directly whether being part of the EU was better for Tata’s businesses in the UK, which include Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Steel, Mr Kumar said: “For our UK operations, definitely.

“Why is that? Because it is easier to export stuff out of here [Britain], you don’t have to do the paperwork as much, you don’t have any import duties.

“That is the reason, it is not rocket science.”

Tata, which also owns Tetley Tea, employs 65,000 people in Britain and has combined UK revenues of £25bn.

Mr Kumar said that the UK was a good place to operate.

‘Unprecedented’

“Britain has always been for Indians a relatively easy place to do business,” he said. “We speak the language, we have historical links, we have known British people all our lives.”

Asked about whether Britain could do more trade with India, Mr Kumar said: “I think there is a lot more we can do to connect to the growth engine of India and it will be good for our people in the UK and it will be good for our businesses in the UK, it will be good for everybody.”

Mr Kumar was speaking to the BBC as part of the India Rising series, which is looking at the growth of the Indian economy.

He said that India had been an economic success and although it still needed investment in infrastructure and energy, as well as a more positive business environment, the government recognised the need for reform.

“If you take off China, I think for any large economy to have grown at 5-7% for 20 years is actually unprecedented in human history,” he said.

He said that businesses had to be patient as the government of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, put reforms in place.

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