A 60-member delegation of Indian CEOs visiting Britain from June 7 to 9 will seek solutions to a host of issues as more and more Indian companies invest in Britain. These include liberalisation of norms for intra-corporate transferees, repatriation of social security contributions of Indians working in Britain, and assurance of level-playing field for Indian companies competing for government contracts.
India is the now the second largest investor in Britain in terms of number of projects. Indian businesses invested £52 billion in London in 2006, up from £38 billion in 2004, according to a recent report by direct investment agency Think London. At the same time, more and more Indian professionals are also providing services in Britain — of the 33,756 permits issued to overseas IT workers in the last 12 months, 79 per cent were granted to Indians. This has thrown up a host of contentious issues, which ministers and policy makers have been trying to resolve.
Further, the business leaders will seek reciprocal national treatment for foreign banks in Britain as per WTO stipulations. Greater exchange of financial services will figure prominently on their agenda, given New Delhi’s plan to liberalise financial markets by 2009 and Britain’s interest in helping make Mumbai an international financial services hub on the lines of London.
The CEOs and their British counterparts will participate in the FICCI-IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Global Business Forum, which is being timed to coincide with the IIFA Awards on June 7. As such, cooperation in the field of entertainment, especially in co-production and outsourcing post-production work to India, will be high on the agenda.
According to a joint study by FICCI and Yes Bank titled “Strategic Knowledge and Economic Partnerships: India and UK”, India and Britain can also gain from cooperation in agribusiness, manufacturing, environment and sustainable development, and clean energy. The report, which will be released at the forum, also flags areas like R&D alliances, contract research and manufacturing, tie-ups for clinical trials in India and joint ventures for production of generics.
The forum will be addressed by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and prominent business leaders such as LN Mittal.