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Last updated: 08 Nov, 2016 India-UK trade ties

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Bikky Khosla | 08 Nov, 2016
British Prime Minister Theresa May is currently in India on a three-day visit. After taking office, it is her maiden bilateral trade visit outside the European Union (EU) that stands out in significance given that the post-Brexit Britain needs trade with India more than ever. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to London in November 2015, the two countries signed deals worth 9 billion pounds and now his British counterpart's visit is being touted as an opportunity to open the way to dramatically enhance India-UK bilateral trade.

India and UK already share a robust trade relation. Merchandise trade between the two countries stood at US$ 14 billion in 2015-16.  They are the third-largest investors in each others countries. Today, Indian companies own some of Britain's best-known brands, creating thousands of new jobs in the country while the latter is perhaps the only country that has a dedicated minister to look only after India-UK bilateral trade. And now it is widely expected that in coming days we can take this mutually beneficial relation to a new height.

But not all is well with the ties, particularly over visa rules. Ahead of  May’s trade-promoting visit, Britain had last week announced changes to immigration rules, including higher salary thresholds, which would affect Indian professionals and IT companies. Indian IT workers account for nearly 90 percent of UK visas granted under the ICT route and the new rules are intended to reduce dependence of British companies on professionals from India and other non-EU countries. Needless to say, these new norms are unfortunate, considering the fact that India is Britain's second-largest international job creator.

I think it is an opportune time for India and Britain even to look for enhanced trade cooperation through a free trade agreement, but it must be kept in mind that negotiations for such a comprehensive deal must be based on the objective of creating a win-win situation, so that one side gains in the areas where it gets more access while loses out where the other side gains more access. Striking the right balance will be the key to moving forward and as long as Britain shows reluctance to welcome talented Indian professionals, it will not be possible.

I invite your opinions.
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Marcus Christo | Wed Nov 9 21:19:59 2016
she is so right wing and want's to be in control. This lady will take what she can with out giving much back. When it cones to UK Immigration she wants it all her own way and with the crazy Foreign Minister Boris Johnson there will be little hope, until we have political change here in the UK.

UK Immigration
Mohamed Saleem Zackria | Wed Nov 9 03:20:33 2016
Actually the UK Immigration policy is favourable for genuine applications which is not tagged by unnecessary agents. Indians who are genuine visitors should apply on line directly with required documents are considered and respected. I still feel that the Indian government should encourage Indian students to complete a part of the final education curriculum in UK to know and adapt the knowledge gained.

Approach Makes no Sense to Indian Businesses
Nikhil Kapoor | Tue Nov 8 21:22:14 2016
Theresa May makes no sense with the speech she has given earlier. She has nothing to offer to Indian Businessman, other than a quick checkout at the airport. This is very unusual for a Prime Minister to come without any preparation. I think she is still in Ministerial Environment of Immigration Dept. She doesn't realize she is prime minister and she should be promising more rather that sticking to immigration. Lets hope some surprises happen to make it a good deal, otherwise it is no good deal for Indian Businesses.

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