India represents a significant economic opportunity for the UK, especially in light of the country’s decision to leave the European Union, the CBI’s Director-General says.
Speaking at the Confederation of Indian Industry’s annual conference, this year focussing on the theme of “The Future of the UK-India Economic Relations”, Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, called for British business to demonstrate the UK is open for business across the world.
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:
“To an investor in the UK, India represents two things – opportunity and openness.
“With the fastest growing economy in the world, at 7.5% GDP growth, it’s perhaps no surprise that the UK is sitting up and taking notice.
“The latest CBI/PwC India Sterling Assets Report shows the UK is India’s biggest investor among the G20 countries, but we need to make the decision to invest in India even easier.”
On the UK and India’s trade relationship, Carolyn said:
“The vote to leave the EU came as a shock to many in the business community. But we need to send out a clear message to our friends all around the world that Britain is “open for business.”
“For centuries, we’ve been an open nation, seizing global opportunities, and attracting investment from around the world. Now is no time to pull up the drawbridge, and we have no intention of doing so.
“So we’re setting out three principles to give firms the certainty they need to invest.
“First, protection of tariff and barrier-free access to the Single Market.
“Second, protection of the access business has under existing EU world trade deals.
“Finally, we need to continue to attract global talent. We need to consider how to build a simple, clear immigration system that recognises the concerns of the public, and still allows firms to access the skills they need.
“Outside the EU we will continue to be one of the best places in the world to do business. And we will explore the new opportunities that our new situation will bring.”
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s investment drive, Carolyn said:
“Increasing foreign direct investment has been a real success of Narendra Modi’s first two years as Prime Minister.
“Last year’s surge was followed just two weeks ago, with nine sectors, including defence and civil aviation, being opened up to foreign direct investment.
“Of course, in some areas there is still work to do. The shadow of retrospective taxation still makes some companies nervous about investing in India.
“But the positive results we’ve seen in other areas should encourage us that we can make progress here too.”