In a bid to revive the weakening bilateral trade with India, George Osborne, British finance minister, on Wednesday stressed the need to wrap up a free trade agreement with Europe by early 2011.
Osborne said UK-India bilateral trade has slipped on both sides, and UK has been losing share of India’s booming trade with the rest of the world.
“The new coalition government is here to renew and strengthen the partnership between the two countries,” said Osborne.
He also highlighted the need for the free trade agreement between Europe and India as it would generate more jobs and growth. “Negotiations are in the fourth year and we need to provide a leadership to complete the free trade agreement by early 2011.”
Osborne emphasised the need to strengthen the partnership between the two countries in the financial services sector. He pointed out India’s better response to the recent financial crisis and said both countries have much to learn and gain from each other on the macro prudential regulation.
Pointing to the Manmohan Singh government’s commitment to raise foreign direct investment cap in insurance companies to 49 per cent from 26 per cent now, he said he believes in reciprocity.
He will allow Indian banks to establish themselves even more prominently in UK, he said, adding, “This is the reciprocity our banking system needs.”