India, UK for deeper trade and investment arrangements
New Delhi: UK Secretary of State for International Trade Dr. Liam Fox today said that UK is interested in forging deeper trade and investment arrangements with India.
Dr. Fox was speaking when he called on India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his office in North Block here today.
Dr. Fox announced his participation and the UK’s commitment to the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) to be held on 7 November alongside the ‘India-UK TECH Summit’.
On this occasion, Jaitley told Dr. Fox that Government of India accords high priority to investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and service sectors. He said that Government has set-up National Infrastructure Invest Fund (NIIF) for attracting equity investments for development. He drew attention to steps being taken by officials from both India and UK for exploring creation of an India-UK sub-fund under the NIIF umbrella. The Finance Minister said that we look forward to implementation of this task expeditiously and positively in near future.
Jaitley further said that the Indian Cabinet has approved a new model text for the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) which has already been shared with the UK Government in April, 2016. Besides it, the Finance Minister also raised the issue of proposed BREXIT implications on the Indian businesses and working professionals in U.K.
The Finance Minister said that UK is among India’s major trading partner and despite the global economic slowdown and the Eurozone crisis, India-UK bilateral trade has been resilient. He also mentioned about new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with UK depending on terms and conditions of UK’s withdrawal arrangement from the EU.
Dr. Fox is currently on a three day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai from 28 to 30 August. This is the First visit by the new Secretary of State in his current role and his visit is expected to boost UK-India bilateral commercial ties and mark India as a key strategic partner across trade, investment and defence.
The United States Secretary of Commerce also meets Jaitley
The United States Secretary of Commerce, Ms. Penny Pritzker and Director of the National Economic Council Jeffrey Zients also called on the Finance Minisetr in his office in North Block today. Both the leaders discussed the issues relating to bilateral trade and measures to increase the trade between the two countries.
During this meeting Jaitley said that many Indian States are growing at the rate of 10-11 per cent and the trade dialogue between the States and the US investors and companies can help in giving boost to the bilateral trade between India and US. He said that the Central Government has created a National Infrastructure Invest Fund (NIIF) in which various U.S. based insurance and pension funds, endowment funds can invest especially in infrastructure sector which has great potential in India.
Jaitley said that the Constitution Amendment Bill relating to Goods and Service Tax has been passed by both the Houses of Parliament unanimously in the last Monsoon Session. He said that 8 States have already approved the GST Constitution Amendment Bill and hoped that the remaining States will follow suit and the desired number of State Ratifications can be achieved early next month. He also expressed India’s interest to increase bilateral trade between the two nations and said that most of the concerns between the two countries have been either resolved or narrowed down to a large extent.
The U.S. Secretary of Commerce welcomed the approval of GST Bill and hoped that this will boost the economic activities in the country at large. She suggested that the trade dialogue by the State Chief Ministers with different US authorities can be given a structured shape in order to give impetus to the bilateral trade. She expressed hope that there is great potential to increase the bilateral trade among the two nations. She said that US wants to institutionalise the trade relations between the two countries to give it impetus.