Britain and India agreed to strengthen economic ties on Wednesday and research the effects of Covid-19 on South Asian populations, as the UK looks to boost jobs and investment ahead of its exit from the European Union.
The UK’s economic and financial relationship with India has never been more important with the global challenges we face.
Rishi Sunak, UK finance minister
The agreement centred on financial services, infrastructure and tackling climate change on sustainable finance, as well a commitment to understand why coronavirus affected South Asians so badly in the UK and India.
“Today we set out our ambition for even stronger ties, with an agreement that will increase investment, and create and secure jobs in the UK,” British finance minister Rishi Sunak said, following the tenth Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) between the countries.
“We are also committed to working together to lead the global economic recovery as we build back better after the pandemic.”
The two countries have a strong investment relationship, with UK and Indian investments supporting over half a million jobs in each other’s countries. More than 800 Indian companies operate in the UK, employing more than 110,000 people.
The discussions come as the UK shops for new trading opportunities ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31.
On Wednesday, delegates at an Arab-British Chamber of Commerce webinar said that a possible air corridor between the UAE and UK, which would do away with the 14-day quarantine, would extend to India.
The new agreements between the UK and India included opening up infrastructure opportunities in India to UK commercial expertise and financing.
The two countries will also work to remove regulatory and market access barriers for UK and Indian firms, while ties over FinTech and “greening the financial system” will also be enhanced.
There will be also a research tie-up worth up to £8 million ($10.4m) “to understand the impact of Covid in South Asian populations in the UK and India”.
“The UK’s economic and financial relationship with India has never been more important with the global challenges we face,” Mr Sunak said.
Since the UK’s first EFD with India in 2007, bilateral trade has more than doubled to nearly £24 billion in 2019.
Indian investment in the UK is focused on technology, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, including the production of Jaguar Land Rover vehicles.
However, Indian companies are now allowed to list on the London Stock Exchange, with the UK one of only seven jurisdictions permitted, something Mr Sunak welcomed.
In an address to industry leaders at a virtual UK-India Investing for Growth Forum, Mr Sunak also highlighted the potential for the countries to collaborate on green sustainable finance flows and generate stronger bilateral investment.
Source- The National.