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Jaitley woos UK businesses to invest in India

business Updated: Jan 20, 2016 01:32 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar

Finance minister Arun Jaitley held a series of meetings with business leaders in the UK on Sunday and Monday, inviting them to invest in India, while highlighting recent announcements made by the Narendra Modi government to facilitate ease of doing business and encourage FDI.

Jaitley attended a dinner hosted by chancellor George Osborne on Sunday. He addressed a business session organised by Goldman Sachs on Monday morning and later met potential investors at a luncheon organised by MasterCard.

Jaitley, who is accompanied by a delegation of Indian business leaders, was scheduled to address an investors summit at the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday as well an investors meet organised jointly by Kotak Mahindra and CII.

Key engagements also included a meeting of the India-UK Financial Partnership and the eighth Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) at 11 Downing Street. The last EFD was held in New Delhi in July 2014.

Tax rationalisation measures and opening-up of different sectors of the economy for foreign direct investment (FDI) are likely to figure in the discussions.

The stability of the Indian economy amid global turmoil is expected to be the central theme as Jaitley leaves for Switzerland to attend the WEF.

Targets to double or increase trade between the two countries have been a challenge in recent years. Latest figures show Britain ranks 18th in the list of India’s top 25 trading partners.

Two-way merchandise trade during 2014-15 stood at $14.34 billion, marking a fall of 9.37% against 2013-14. India’s merchandise exports to the UK declined by about 4.67% from $ 9.77 billion in 2013-14 to $ 9.32 billion in 2014-15, and imports from UK declined by 16.97% from $ 6.04 billion in 2013-14 to $ 5.01 billion in 2014-15.

Britain’s share in India’s global trade has gone down from 2.07% in 2013-14 to 1.89% in 2014-15.