The Securing Asia 2012 Summit finished yesterday with a closing keynote by Jo Johnson, Conservative MP for Orpington and brother of London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Johnson is a former journalist who wrote extensively about the rise of India as a political and economic power.
In his speech, which was broadcast live on the Internet by SecurityNewsDesk.com, Johnson said his interest in India went back to his days as Financial Times bureau chief in south Asia, an interest he continued when he became of Member of Parliament in May 2010.
A key objective of the Government is to reduce Britain’s trade deficit. Johnson believes that the UK is “facing the wrong way” with regard to its exports strategy which focusses on established markets like Europe, North America and Japan.
UK firms have been slow to turn toward Asian markets even though the GDP of the region will account for 60pc of world GDP by 2020.
Exports to BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development – was only 6.5pc of UK goods exports. Meanwhile, Germany exports nearly twice as much to BRIC countries and Japan exports 22pc.
He said the UK is out of kilter with where the world economy is developing but the Government is working to resolve the problem, he said, by forming relationships with powerful countries in Asia.
Foreign Secretary William Hague says that the UK is facing East like never before and it’s bringing dividends: UK exports to the region are up 20pc year on year and the Government has set a target of doubling exports to the region in five years.
This is being backed up by unprecedented diplomatic muscle and a significant increase in UK Trade & Investment resources. There will be eight new diplomatic stations in Asia by end of this Parliament, with 60 new consular staff in China and 30 in India to hel