The automatic sharing of tax information between India and Britain scheduled to begin from 2017 is expected to figure in the Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) between finance minister Arun Jaitley and chancellor George Osborne in London during January 18-19.
Jaitley is scheduled arrive in London on a three-day visit on Sunday, mainly for the eighth round of the EFD that was launched in February 2005. The seventh round was held in New Delhi between Jaitley and Osborne in July 2014.
The talks next week are expected to take the tax agenda further, besides other items that figured in the November visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including bonds to be issued in London for infrastructure financing in India, official sources told Hindustan Times.
The 1 billion-pound line of credit from UK Export Finance to support Indian infrastructure projects, announced by Osborne during his 2014 visit to New Delhi, is also expected to figure in the talks. The line for credit was for projects such as the Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor.
Tax issues, including evasion, often figure in official interaction between the two governments, mainly due to the large Indian diaspora in Britain and growing British investment in India.
The joint statement after the seventh EFD said: “The UK and India reiterated their determination to lead on tackling tax evasion, noting that the two countries would begin exchanging tax information on an automatic basis from 2017 with each other and with a large number of jurisdictions as part of their commitment to early adoption of the new Global Standard.”
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 decrease of 9.37% as compared to 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.