India, Britain talk up post-Brexit trade prospects

Britain's Finance minister Phillip Hammond, while forbidden to talk serious turkey in his globetrotting attempts to secure trade deals for the United Kingdom post-Brexit until after the United Kingdom has quit the European Union, is doing his best to prepare the ground.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark said the India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue will enable both the sides to explore the vast shared economic opportunities lying ahead.

Committing to free markets and free trade, India and the UK reaffirmed "non-discriminatory treatment" of foreign investors, said the joint statement issued after the 9th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue between UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

"This fund will be under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) participating in it". India had in 2015 set up the Rs 40,000 crore National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) to finance greenfield as well as brown field projects.Describing it as a milestone, Mr Jaitley said this is going to be the first major beginning, as far as the fund is concerned.

The two countries agreed to work together swiftly to encourage sustainable bilateral investment that benefits both countries, including through the Joint Working Group. "Progress will be accelerated by starting the process of appointing a fund manager now with early market engagement via the publication of a blueprint, with the aim to identify additional and complementary sectors for fund investments", the statement read to this effect.

On masala bond, he said, there are more issues coming and more and more Indian entities will come and raise from London.

"Given the increasingly important role the rupee will play in the global economy in years to come, we also welcomed the City of London Corporation's establishment of a Rupee Initiative to bring together market experts and leverage the UK's position as the world's number one foreign exchange centre to further develop this market", the statement highlighted the importance of foreign exchange. "We share same legal system and same business language". "We look forward to enhanced cooperation in this area", it said.

Hammond, who will be visiting Mumbai on Wednesday to attend the India-UK financial technology summit, has been accompanied by leaders from the UK's FinTech and financial services firms, as well as FinTech envoy Eileen Burbidge, Commercial Secretary Baroness Neville-Rolfe and International Trade Minister Mark Garnier.

  • Carolyn Briggs