Minister calls for protection in UK-India deal

The UK’s investment minister expressed his desire for robust investment protections in any future trade agreement with India and highlighted the potential for closer collaboration between the two countries in financial services, even in the absence of a trade pact.

Negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and India began in January last year, with the initial goal set by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to conclude the talks by Diwali in October 2022, the Hindu festival of lights.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has emphasised that the quality of the trade deal should not be compromised for the sake of expediency.

While investment minister Dominic Johnson did not provide specific timelines for the FTA, he acknowledged the significant opportunity to facilitate investment into India and benefit from Indian investments into the UK. He stressed the importance of strong investment protection agreements that provide security, stability, and predictability for UK investors in India, and vice versa.

Johnson also highlighted the potential for India to liberalise its financial services sector, taking inspiration from the British system. He believed that British expertise could contribute to this process, irrespective of the terms of any future trade agreement. He encouraged India to formalise its economy, harmonise trade and tax systems, and streamline licensing regimes across the country.

Although he refrained from commenting on specific businesses, Johnson acknowledged the significance of Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, as a major Indian investor in the UK. He mentioned that the UK government is committed to developing a world-class domestic electric vehicle (EV) industry, emphasising its importance as a core element of the long-term strategy. Additionally, he expressed confidence in the strength of the EV supply chain in the UK.

In summary, the UK’s investment minister expressed the desire for strong investment protections in a future trade deal with India, while also emphasising the potential for closer collaboration in financial services. He highlighted the importance of formalising India’s economy and harmonising trade systems, while reaffirming the government’s commitment to developing a robust domestic EV industry.

Pan Finance is a print journal and news website providing worldwide intelligence on finance, economics and global commerce. Known for our in-depth analysis and opinion pieces from esteemed academics and celebrated professionals; our readership consists of senior decision makers from across the globe.

Contact us