Britain’s international trade secretary Liam Fox and India’s commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu met in London yesterday to help smooth the way for a post-Brexit trade deal.
The pair were joined by a delegation of senior UK and Indian officials for the 12th meeting of the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO). Along with discussing opportunities for greater cooperation between India and the UK, both sides highlighted barriers to trade and investment that need to be addressed.
Following the meeting, Dr Fox said it was in the interests of both countries to “boost prosperity, generate jobs [and] develop skills”. He also announced a sharp rise in the amount of funding available to help UK businesses looking to trade with India.
The amount of financial support available through UK Export Finance to support British companies exporting to India, as well as Indian buyers of UK goods and services, has been more than doubled to £4.5bn.
A number of UK and Indian businesses also came together yesterday on the sidelines of the JETCO forum. UK engineering consultancy Arup and Mumbai-based Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services joined other firms to discuss ways of boosting co-operation in growing sectors such as advanced manufacturing and smart cities.
Dr Liam Fox said: “I am delighted to be meeting with the Indian Minister and business leaders today, to map out how we will build a stronger trading relationship between our 2 nations. For the first time in 40 years, the UK is preparing for its own independent trade policy, and expanding our bilateral trade and investment with India will be central to that task. It’s in our shared interest to boost prosperity, generate jobs, develop skills, and enhance the competitiveness of both our countries.
“As an international economic department, we will continue to work closely with the Indian government to break down the barriers to boosting trade. That includes more than doubling trade finance support for UK exporters and Indian buyers of our goods and services.”
According to the Department for International Trade, India is the world’s seventh-largest economy and the fourth-largest investor into the UK, while UK investment in India grew by 8.8% in the year to 2016. Trade between the two countries was worth £15.7bn last year.