Despite Brexit uncertainties, India-UK trade up 15%

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on May 16, 2018 Published on May 15, 2018

Bharat Joshi, British Deputy Hi gh Commissioner in Chennai   -  K_K_Mustafah

Despite the uncertainties around Brexit, trade and investment between India and the UK increased by 15 per cent with a significant creation of jobs in both countries.

Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, at a press conference, said the UK has emphasised that Brexit does not mean the UK is getting isolationist. “India is fundamentally important to the UK and we see our relationship growing and we are working together on many fronts. We have seen a 15 per cent increase in trade, which is £18 billion worth,” he said.

“On balance Brexit, brings more opportunities. There is obviously uncertainties for companies that are investing in the UK. All that will become clear in the next few months. We have confirmed that we will retain the same trading relationship till March 2020 so there is no uncertainty for Indian companies, and their access to markets will not change while we negotiate a fresh relationship,” he explained.

Joshi said the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai has encouraged Indian companies to invest in the UK as well as the other way round. He pointed out to the high value investments by TVS Logistics, which has become a global logistics major. The Deputy HC has also worked with UK companies to set up businesses in India and referred to a recent investment of £25 million by UK company Scapa to set up wholly-owned subsidiary in Chennai to produce bonding products and adhesive components.

Joshi said that a 100 billion pound cross-border fund is in the process of being created and an announcement is expected in June.

He said the UK is also looking to offer its expertise to Indian companies in renewable energy, especially in offshore wind energy. Also, the UK would be keen to get involved in more smart city projects around the country. The British government has already selected three cities to develop them as smart cities: Pune, Amaravati and Indore.

Bharat Joshi’s five-year term in Chennai ends in September and he returns to the foreign office in the UK on a promotion and will be replaced by Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford who will move to Chennai from Atlanta.

The last year also saw the Dy HC issue 5.5 lakh UK visas of which 98 per cent were issued in the regulation time period of 15 days, he said. There was a 11 per cent jump in visitor visas issued, of which six per cent were business visas. Student visas issued also jumped significantly by 27 per cent. “We have seen an increased number of good quality students travelling to the UK for a top-notch education and coming back home,” he added.

The UK education sector is again seeing a growth after a period which saw many dubious institutions in the UK being closed. Joshi pointed out that 60 per cent of the work visas issued by the UK were to Indians, stressing the importance that the UK gave to Indian business.

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Published on May 15, 2018
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