Despite Brexit, India-UK ties surge ahead

Trade and investment ties between India and the UK have been seeing a spurt of growth with a jump by 15 per cent, even as there was a significant creation of jobs in both countries.

Uncertainties around Brexit notwithstanding, trade and investment ties between India and the UK have been seeing a spurt of growth with a jump by 15 per cent, even as there was a significant creation of jobs in both countries.

Media reports quoted Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner, speaking at a press conference in Chennai, as saying that Brexit did not mean the UK is getting isolationist. India is fundamentally important to the UK., he said and added that the UK sees the relationship between the two countries growing. “…we are working together on many fronts. We have seen a 15 per cent increase in trade, which is £18 billion worth,” he said.

Joshi said that Brexit has brought more opportunities and that though there are obvious uncertainties for businesses investing in the UK, things will become clear in the next few months. 

Joshi said that the UK will retain the same trading relationship till March 2020. As such, there is no uncertainty for Indian companies and “their access to markets will not change while we negotiate a fresh relationship”. 

The British Deputy High Commission in Chennai has been encouraging Indian companies to invest in the UK, as also the UK companies to invest in India. As an example, he pointed to the high value investments by TVS Logistics, which has become a global logistics major. As regards the UK companies investing in India, the Deputy HC said he has also worked with UK companies to set up businesses in India and gave the instance of a recent investment of £25 million by UK company Scapa. The investment is to set up a wholly-owned subsidiary in Chennai to produce bonding products and adhesive components.

Additionally, a 100 billion pound cross-border fund is being created and an announcement will be made most likely in June.

Further,  the UK is exploring opportunities to offer its expertise to Indian companies in renewable energy, especially in offshore wind energy, said Joshi. 

The UK is also keen to participate in more smart city projects around the country. Notably, the British government has selected three cities Pune, Amaravati and Indore – to develop them as smart cities.

It is worth noting that Bharat Joshi’s five-year term in Chennai will end in September and he will be returning to the foreign office in the UK on a promotion. He will be replaced by Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford who will move to Chennai from Atlanta.

In 2017, the Dy HC issue 5.5 lakh UK visas of which 98 per cent were issued in the regulation time period of 15 days, Joshi said. Further, there was a 11 per cent jump in visitor visas issued, of which six per cent were business visas. Student visas issued saw a jump by 27 per cent. 

It is noteworthy that the UK education sector that was in the news for many dubious institutions being closed, has been gaining the confidence of the student community once again. 

It is pertinent that 60 per cent of the work visas issued by the UK were to Indians.

 

(Source: BusinessLine, media reports)


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