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Outlook for UK-India trade looks good: Rishi Sunak

Suneeti Ahuja Kohli & James Jose/Dubai
Filed on June 30, 2021
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. — File photo

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer says the UK’s GDP data is outperforming expectations


The UK is the first European country to pursue a trade deal with India and expects to double its trade by 2030, said Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK, at the India Global Forum 2021.

“We’re super excited about the UK-India relationship and have a target of doubling our trade by 2030. The UK is a heavily services-oriented economy, and so is India, which offers a great opportunity for our two nations to liberalise services trade,” said the chancellor. “It’s fantastic that Indian companies can get access to the capital to thrive, and they can do that using London’s financial services.”

This is the first major free trade agreement (FTA) for India since 2011 when it signed a comprehensive deal with Malaysia. India inked a minor FTA with Mauritius in February this year.

“I think there are lots of reasons to be excited about the relationship, but it should be broader and deeper than just trade,” Sunak added.

In terms of economic outlook, the UK’s GDP data is outperforming expectations, and the government remains cautiously optimistic about the year ahead.

Measures taken by the UK government and stimulus packages announced during the last one year of the pandemic helped in minimising the damage done to the economy, according to the chancellor.

“At the start of this crisis, people were forecasting unemployment to reach 12 per cent in the UK. However, now it is estimated to be half of that, that's two million fewer people who are going to lose their jobs as a result of what we've done. And that I think puts us in a very strong position,” he said.

On opening up the UK further through reforms for companies and talent from across the world, the chancellor said: “We’re liberalising our high-skill migration regime and making sure that those companies have access to the capital they need to grow. And so recently, we’re reforming some of the IPO listing rules in the UK, to make the country a more attractive place for companies to raise capital. We want to be able to support an ecosystem in which people can get the people they need and the capital, and access the ideas. I think we are already very good at all these things, certainly in Europe with more unicorn companies than France and Germany put together.”

On climate emissions, Sunak said the UK was one of the first countries in the world to set an ambitious goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050.

Talking about the way forward on climate policies, the chancellor said the UK is taking a lead on this front and has been able to get all the finance ministers of the G7 to make climate disclosures mandatory in their economies, which is a significant achievement. “We need to unlock probably hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars from the private sector into climate-related projects and investments. We can only unlock that capital if investors know where to send it. And that's why disclosures are important. I think that's good example of the UK showing global leadership.”

reporters@khaleejtimes.com





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