LONDON British Prime Minister Theresa May will lead a delegation of small and medium-size businesses to India in November as part of efforts to bolster trade with countries outside the European Union as Britain prepares to leave the bloc.
The Nov. 6-8 trip, May's first bilateral visit to a country outside Europe since she took office in July, will be in pursuit of her ambition of forging a new global role for Britain after it leaves the European Union, May's Downing Street office said in a statement.
The European Commission is responsible for trade negotiations for the EU and some countries have said they will not negotiate a new deal for Britain until it has actually left the bloc.
"As we embark on the trade mission to India we will send the message that the UK will be the most passionate, most consistent, and most convincing advocate for free trade," May was quoted as saying.
She said past trade missions had focused on big business, but she wanted to adopt a new approach and would take small and medium companies from every region of the United Kingdom.
Among them will be Geolang, a cyber security company based in Cardiff in Wales, Torftech, a biomass energy company based in southeast England, and Telensa, a company focused on high-tech wireless street lighting systems, based in Cambridge.
May will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit, and the two heads of government will together inaugurate a tech summit in New Delhi.
Liam Fox, Britain's secretary of state for international trade, will join the visit, during which a number of commercial deals are expected to be signed.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)