Government calls for free India-UK trade across sectors
New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The government here on Monday called for free trade across sectors, including smart cities and manpower, between India and the UK as the two countries signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on ease of doing business and protecting intellectual property rights (IPR).
“UK seems to want Indian market, Indian goods but not Indian talent,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters, adding that the issue of visa fee and student visa was raised in the bilateral talks.
Sitharaman was speaking at a press briefing on the sidelines of the three-day India-UK Tech Summit starting on Monday. The summit was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Premier Theresa May, who is on a three-day official visit to India.
“The MoU on ease of doing business was towards sharing of best practices and technical assistance on certain parameters. It covers state governments as well,” Sitharaman said.
It will help India get technical know-how on certain parameters in which the UK has expertise, Sitharaman added.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, “India should push the limit when it comes to enhancing trade and investment with the UK after Brexit.”
Kant added that free trade should be across the board as there is no such thing as selective free trade. He was speaking at a session at the India-UK Tech Summit organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
There is need for free trade in cross-border movement of manpower as well and the UK should allow meritorious people from India to work in the UK, he said.
There is immense potential between India and the UK in the area of urbanisation, education, defence, finance, creative industry, and start-ups, Kant added.
“The government has created a conducive eco-system for start-ups. The Masala Bonds, launched in the UK, could help meet the funding requirements for start-ups,” he said.
Greg Hands, UK Minister of Trade and Investment, said that Brexit offers a huge opportunity for UK-India economic interaction in areas such as life sciences, infrastructure, and services, among others.
“A Working Group has been constituted on Trade which would discuss the issue of India-UK FTA at an appropriate time,” Hands said.