UK minister to hold trade talks with Piyush Goyal during India visit



Britain's international trade secretary Liz Truss will arrive in New Delhi for talks with Commerce and Industry minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday.

According to officials, the meeting will work out further details around a proposed Enhanced Trade Partnership between India and the UK.

The visit follows a virtual dialogue between the two ministers in November 2020 to review the progress on a closer post-Brexit bilateral tie-up, which Goyal has articulated as holding out the promise of early harvest pacts ahead of a more full-fledged India-UK free trade agreement (FTA).

The visit by Liz Truss this week is also seen as a precursor to a proposed visit by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the G-7 summit, scheduled for June 11-13 in Cornwall.

The honourable ministers will be meeting in New Delhi as part of the ongoing engagement on reducing barriers to trade, Gaitri Issar Kumar, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, said during a post-Budget virtual interaction session in London.

The envoy highlighted key aspects of the Union Budget tabled by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday which would be of particular interest to UK-based investors, including the enhanced foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in the insurance sector to 74 per cent as well as opportunities in the healthcare and agribusiness sectors.

The Budget sets a firm path of job creation and economic growth and is also great news for British collaborators and investors, she said.

The interactive session, organised by the Indian High Commission with the Indian Professionals Forum (IPF), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Ernst & Young (EY), evaluated the most important aspects of the Union Budget from a foreign investor's perspective.

The proposed creation of a shadow bank for distressed assets and focus on privatisation were among the developments highlighted by IPF President Mohan Kaul.

This is the right Budget at the right time and efforts must be made on delivering the targets set, said investment banker Lord Jitesh Gadhia, who chaired a panel discussion with experts in the India-UK business corridor.

There was unanimity on the positive impact the Budget would have on India-UK trade and investment partnership, with a particular focus on research and design in the UK, make in India and export to the world.

It is a very pragmatic Budget, which has created the building blocks for both countries to push ahead with closer collaboration, said Gregory Rivers, Head of Government Affairs at Infosys, and Vice-Chair of the CII UK India Business Forum.

The Budget not only sets India on the path of medium-term growth but also to optimise global opportunities, added Loknath Mishra, MD & CEO of ICICI Bank UK, and Chair of the Financial Services Committee at the FICCI UK Council.

It was also agreed that the Indian High Commission in London would coordinate sectoral workshops to pursue opportunities thrown up by the Union Budget.



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