Contrary to received wisdom and the assertions of Mr Moore in his leading opinion piece on David Cameron's trade visit to India, the United Kingdom is still the world's sixth largest manufacturer by output, ahead of France, and the third in the EU according as measured by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The difference between Britain's manufacturing past and its manufacturing present is that, today, fewer people are employed in manufacturing in the UK which is now predominately focused on highly skilled jobs and products - think Rolls Royce (engines, turbines, defence etc.), BAE Systems (defence), GSK (pharmaceuticals). The focus on manufacturing, however, misses the point.

I am a lawyer (part of a service industry) and have spent between 30 - 70 days in India every year for the past six years. I work closely with Indian lawyers on a regular basis. I cannot, however, practice law in India.

British (English) law firms lead the world with offices in every corner of the world and English law and the jurisdiction of England's courts remains the preference of the vast majority of global businesses, wherever they may be domiciled, when contracting internationally. Notwithstanding this, it is illegal under Indian law for a “foreign” law firm or lawyer to establish a business in India. Indian law firms have, however, established offices in London.

The legal sector is not alone. Service and retail businesses which make up much more of the UK's economy than most of our international competitors face much greater restrictions (and in many cases exclusions) from operating in India than manufacturers. India is one of the few countries in the world in which Lloyd's of London cannot operate. Multi-brand foreign retailers cannot establish outlets selling directly the public in India and, until recently, single brand retailers operating in India could not be entirely “foreign” owned requiring them to operate either through a franchise model or as a joint venture engaging a “local” Indian investor.

Despite facing barriers to entry and other difficulties, British owned businesses and brands (and even heavy manufacturers like JCB) are in abundance across the subcontinent (Vodafone, Unilever, Marks & Spencer, Costa Coffee, Next, Mothercare etc.) and there is a huge appetite for these and more. The opportunities for growth, especially for the likes of Tesco and London's insurance, financial and legal sectors, when and if remaining barriers to entry are relaxed or lifted are enormous.

This is the purpose of Mr Cameron's trip. One to bat for the many business sectors Britain is still a world leader in and to speak up for Britain against a backdrop of commentators who find it all too easy to talk us down.

While he has many faults, David Cameron should be praised for his efforts in trying to oil the wheels of diplomacy in the promotion of businesses and sectors in which Britain remains great and which can offer India so much - to our mutual benefit - if only they are permitted to.

The leaders of all our global competitors make regular trips to India to foster their own interests. If British leaders failed to do the same, that is when they would deserve criticism.

James Martin
Surrey & Puerto Pollensa