India, UK participate in 10th Economic & Financial Dialogue to boost jobs, investment

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the 10th Economic & Financial Dialogue.

New Delhi (NVI): The landmark 10th Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) between India and the UK saw Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Rishi Sunak, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, make agreements on financial services, infrastructure and sustainable finance to help boost jobs and investments in both the countries.

The United Kingdom and India have a strong investment relationship, with UK and Indian investments supporting over half a million jobs in each other’s economies. Since the first EFD with India in 2007, UK bilateral trade with India has more than doubled to nearly £24 billion in 2019.

At the first session on Global Responses to coronavirus through video conferencing, India and the UK entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City as an international financial centre, including regulatory capacity building support for the new International Financial Services Centre Authority.

Both the countries also agreed on a new UK-India Partnership on Infrastructure Policy and Financing to support the Indian National Infrastructure Pipeline with UK commercial expertise and financing, according to an official statement issued by the British High Commission.

The UK and India further agreed on strengthening cooperation on mobilising private capital into green investment, including through a new UK-India Sustainable Finance Forum, and greening the financial system, the statement added.

In addition to this, they also agreed on a fresh mandate for the industry-led India-UK Financial Partnership to explore closer financial ties in areas including FinTech.

During the conference, an agreement was also reached to create a new Financial Markets Dialogue to remove regulatory and market access barriers for UK and Indian firms.

“Joint investment by UK Research and Innovation and India’s Department of Biotechnology in research collaborations worth up to £8 million to understand the impact of Covid-19 in South Asian populations in the UK and India,” the High Commission added.

The chancellor and finance minister discussed the importance of continuing to work together to deal with the global economic impact of Coronavirus – which the UK and India are already leading as co-authors of the G20 Action Plan – and tackling climate change through sustainable finance.

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said, “The UK’s economic and financial relationship with India has never been more important with the global challenges we face.”

“Today we set out our ambition for even stronger ties, with an agreement that will increase investment and create and secure jobs. We are also committed to working together to lead the global economic recovery as we build back better after the pandemic,” he added.

During the talks, the Chancellor championed UK markets as a source for Indian companies to raise international capital, and welcomed the decision to allow Indian companies to list on the London Stock Exchange – the UK being one of only seven jurisdictions permitted.

India and the United Kingdom enjoy close bilateral relations in diverse areas. India-UK economic ties are important as together they are two of the world’s top seven economies with a combined GDP of over $5 trillion.

A joint statement called the pandemic the “biggest threat” to the global economy in decades, and noted the responses taken by the two governments, including steps to protect lives and livelihoods.

The UK Research and Innovation and India’s Department of Biotechnology will jointly invest up to £8 million for research to understand and address the factors leading to the severity of coronavirus in South Asian populations in UK and in India, the statement read.

“The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care will contribute to India’s Coronavirus Joint Response Plan and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) via the World Health Organization with an initial amount of £600,000,” it added.

This will provide a platform for further bilateral cooperation on AMR through a Fleming Fund partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the future, the statement said.