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UK Seeks $2.5b Business With India

Collaboration with India in smart cities provides a lot of opportunities for the UK in terms of trade with another maturing, developed economy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) walks with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. May described as “limitless” the potential of the relationship with India.Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) walks with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. May described as “limitless” the potential of the relationship with India.

The new partnership on smart cities forged between India and the UK could open up business worth £2 billion ($2.48 billion) for British businesses and help secure financing for such projects.

Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, UK, said the partnership agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Theresa May on Monday was “another sign of the close integration” of the two economies, news outlets reported.

All of this could open up potential business for UK companies of up to £2 billion and help secure financing initiatives for Smart City projects in India utilizing the expertise of the city of London,” Fox said while addressing the India-UK Tech Summit.

Fox said that if handled sensibly, collaboration with India in smart cities provides a lot of opportunities for the UK in terms of trade with another maturing, developed economy.

“Our ability to provide the seeds of knowledge that can deal with some of the problems that we are talking about today is not only good in the short term for our business and for the effect on the population of India, but also good for us as a trading partner in the longer term,” he said.

“The new British government and the Department of International Trade that I head will be looking at this as priority because trade and development are a win-win where we can export the technologies and the knowledge base to help India be able to deal with the problems of demographics and also the opportunities that those represent.

  Protectionist Sentiments

Keen to forge deeper trade ties with India as it exits the European Union, Britain today said it is a natural partner of the world’s fastest growing major economy with whom it wants to team up to challenge the protectionist sentiments gaining traction around the globe.

Responding to Fox’s call on doing away with protectionism, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said as the $2.2 trillion Indian economy expands, it is “least influenced” by voices of protectionism.

“Normally, it is the least developed and developing economies which have a tendency to cry for protectionism and that is a voice that’s almost not heard in India,” Jaitley said. “We are looking to open out and that’s the direction of our economy.”

  Modi, May Confer

Kicking off talks on boosting trade ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union, May, making her first bilateral trip outside Europe since Britain voted to quit the bloc, described as “limitless” the potential of the relationship with India.

Besides visa issues, terrorism dominated the bilateral conversation between Modi and May in New Delhi.

Modi asked British companies to look at multiple opportunities in the Indian defense sector. “Looking beyond trade in defense equipment, I invite them to build partnerships with Indian enterprises that focus on manufacturing, technology transfer and co-development,” Modi said.

After a three-hour meeting followed by lunch, May, with Modi by her side, announced the business visa offer. On the issue of students’ mobility, however, there was little visible progress. According to the joint statement, “India will have one of the best UK visa services of any country in the world, with more application points than anywhere else and the only place where you can get a same day visa.”

  World of Opportunities

Speaking to Sky News at the end of her three-day visit, she said: “Leaving the EU presents us with a world of opportunities and I’m determined to seize them. That’s why I’m here in India, delivering on global Britain. And I have to say the response has been very good.

“During this visit, we’ve seen £1 billion worth of deals being signed and we’ve come to an agreement with the Indian government that we will work together with them on developing our trade relationship for the future.

“What does that mean? It means more jobs, more investment in the UK, more trade for British businesses and that’s good for everyone.”

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