The DTI has launched a major investigation into the offshoring of British work after trade union pressure and the exodus of thousands of UK jobs overseas.
Last week, secretary of state for trade and industry Patricia Hewitt hosted a round-table event for around 50 interested parties, including unions, companies that have offshored, organisations that have chosen not to offshore, business groups and academics.
Delegates at the event are not revealing details of the discussion, but the DTI has promised to produce a report by early April on outsourcing and the possible threat that it could pose to the British economy.
However, despite the investigation, a move towards banning outsourcing altogether seems highly unlikely.
Speaking on the world trade panel of the CBI annual conference in November last year, Hewitt warned unions that the Government cannot use legislation to prevent UK jobs from going overseas.
"We must resist protectionism. It is easy to see the short-term benefits because of UK jobs and competitiveness, but we must take a long-term view," Hewitt told delegates.
Unions have announced that they will conduct a separate investigation into the issue. Many of their arguments are bolstered by research that suggests outsourcing does not boost company profitability.
Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said employers should think carefully from a business perspective about outsourcing their operations overseas.
"Some firms are already bringing back parts of their offshored business because of concerns about language and technical expertise," he said.
"If you focus solely on cost reduction, you will put the employer brand and customer service at risk."
Anthony Thompson, head of employee resourcing at the CBI, said: "In today's global economy these trends are inevitable. We should not lose sight of the fact that the numbers are still very low across the economy as a whole. The benefits of outsourcing outweigh the negatives.
"You can't stop this through legislation and to do so would be counter-productive," he said. "Offs