India and the UK today agreed to develop new trading arrangements and reaffirmed the crucial role of rules-based multilateral trading system, said a joint statement of the two countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently visiting the United Kingdom (UK). The prime minister will also participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here from April 19-20. Modi and his counterpart Theresa May held wide-ranging discussions and underlined strategic partnership and growing convergence on regional as well as international issues. “The leaders agreed to forge a dynamic new India-UK Trade Partnership, to develop new trading arrangements as the UK assumes responsibility for its independent trade policy, facilitate investment in both directions and intensify collaboration on shared or complementary strengths,” said the statement.
The statement, issued during the visit of Modi, said that building on the recommendations of the recently-completed UK-India Joint Trade Review, the two sides will work together on a sector-based roadmap to reduce barriers to trade, make it easier to do business and enable a stronger bilateral trade relationship after the UK exits the EU. “We will also ensure continued application to the UK of EU-India Agreements during the Implementation Period following the UK’s departure from the EU, and put in place arrangements to replicate relevant EU-India agreements beyond this period,” the joint statement said. The two sides reaffirmed the crucial role of the rules-based multilateral trading system, and the importance of enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development.
Both the countries reaffirmed their commitment to work together with all members of the WTO and take forward a dialogue under the Joint Working Group on Trade, which will support a shared commitment to the global rules-based system and to the WTO’s role in underpinning it. The UK has been the largest G20 investor in India over the last ten years, and India has the fourth largest number of investment projects in the UK. “We will begin a new dialogue on investment to improve our mutual understanding of priorities and review future opportunities for cooperation,” the statement said. India welcomed the decision by the UK to provide additional support to Indian businesses by establishing a reciprocal fast track mechanism for Indian investments into the UK.
It further said the Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF), a joint initiative by the governments of India and the UK under India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, will provide financing to the fast-growing Indian renewable energy sector. With a commitment of 120 million pound from each side, the GGEF is expected to raise up to 500 million pound from institutional investors. GGEF will help accelerate achieving India’s target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and also invest in other related sectors such as clean transportation, water and waste management.
The two sides welcomed the establishment of a FinTech dialogue between the two countries – including the proposed new regulatory cooperation agreement. “Our financial services collaboration will be enhanced by a programme of technical cooperation to help develop markets in insolvency, pensions and insurance,” the statement said. Collaboration in these areas will be set out by Finance Ministers when they meet for the tenth round of the Economic and Financial Dialogue later this year.