1. Theresa May flies to India to prepare ground for post-Brexit trade deal

Theresa May flies to India to prepare ground for post-Brexit trade deal

Prime Minister Theresa May flies to India on Sunday to prepare the ground for one of Britain’s key trade agreements after it quits the European Union.

By: | Published: November 6, 2016 8:10 AM
“The UK and India are natural partners – the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” May said in a statement. (AP) “The UK and India are natural partners – the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” May said in a statement. (AP)

Prime Minister Theresa May flies to India on Sunday to prepare the ground for one of Britain’s key trade agreements after it quits the European Union.

The premier will arrive in New Delhi with Trade Secretary Liam Fox and a delegation of 33 business leaders to cement links with the world’s fastest-growing major economy and seek to remove barriers to British companies winning contracts.

“The UK and India are natural partners – the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” May said in a statement. “This is a partnership about our shared security and shared prosperity. It is a partnership of potential. And on this visit I intend to harness that potential, rebooting an age-old relationship in this age of opportunity and with that helping to build a better Britain.”

The visit will include signing of host of commercial agreements that combined will create as many as 1,370 U.K. jobs, according to the statement.

While Britain isn’t permitted to open negotiations with India over a trade deal until it has formally started proceedings to leave the EU, May will use talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explore what a post-Brexit relationship might look like, according to a person familiar with her plans.

Narendra Modi’s Reforms

Britain will offer to support Modi’s plans for reform to regulation and tax procedures to help make India a more attractive business partner. May will also seek to pave the way for British companies to gain from India’s planned investment in health, skills and infrastructure, the official said.

Fox, who will lead the charge for trade deals around the world after Britain starts the process of leaving the EU by triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, has praised India as a beacon of free trade.

“In 1993, around 45 percent of India’s population sat below the poverty line, in 2011 it was 22 percent -– and it is no coincidence that in the intervening period India embraced globalization and started to liberalize its economy,” he said in a speech in Manchester on Sept. 29. “Ask yourself whether there has been a greater emancipator of the world’s poor than free trade.”

India has the second-biggest army in the world and is the world’s largest importer of military equipment. Fox, a former defense secretary, will make the case for British armaments and aerospace companies to have a bigger share of the market.

Executives from Diageo Plc, Lloyd’s of London, Standard Chartered Plc and Aviva Plc are among those with May on the trip, according to the government statement.

  1. R
    Rohit Chandavarker
    Nov 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm
    The visit of PM Theresa May is crucial in the light of imminent exit of Britain from EU and its after effects as envisaged by the present administration. However, the best laid plans of PM May, though not made public yet, has run into difficulties with a High Court ruling that British Parliament is empowered to legislate on the process as also on invoking Article 50 to allow the divorce to take place. Britain has also enacted tougher immigration laws hitting Indian IT professional hard & putting in doubt scores of potential jobs. Britain has also taken a middle approach towards India's position on terrorism & stan's continued support of anti-India policies. This ambivalent stance is likely to rile Indian policy makers. In case of the more likely scenario of a 'hard' Brexit, Britain would sever all ties with the EU including exiting the customs union thereby jeopardising India's page into EU through Britain. Finalising trade deal is ruled out considering the possibility of Britain's clean break from EU. Also one has to factor in the likely possibility of Scotland ceding from UK & joining the EU as a separate nation. This would hit the City of London hard & put into doubt the unquestioned primacy of London as a prinl financial capital. Many firms are likely to shift base to Scotland to avoid taxation issues leading to job losses. India might also raise the issue of anti-India activities in Britain & the Govt.'s response to such activities. The issue of deportation of Lalit Modi & Vijay Mallya is another important point of discussion. PM May would be raising the issue of defence purchases like the Typhoon fighter deal. Hence this visit is likely to be comprehensive & detailed on various issues.Finally a warm welcome to PM Theresa May and her official entourage.
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