UK wants India to open retail, raise FDI limit in defence

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) Britain wants India to open upretail sector and further liberalise defence and financialservices to promote economic growth and deal with the foodsecurity problem.

The issues are likely to come up for discussion duringthe visit of UK''s Secretary of State for Business, Innovationand Skills Vince Cable who is arriving in India on January 17on a three-day visit along with a 50-member businessdelegation.

"We want to talk to the government about opening upareas of retail, defence where this debate is going on...

Defence Minister yesterday made announcements about theprivate sector''s involvement in the defence sector," BritishHigh Commissioner to India Richard Stagg told reporters.

At present, the government allows 51 per cent FDI insingle brand retail and 100 per cent in the cash-and-carry(wholesale) formats, while FDI in multi-brand retail isprohibited. In defence and insurance sectors, 26 per cent FDIis permitted.

The UK has strong expertise in areas like retail,infrastructure, energy, financial services and defence.

The visit is aimed at further identifying opportunitiesfor British and Indian companies to work together to realiseambitious goals of economic growth in areas likeinfrastructure development, Stagg said.

Besides, Cable would chair the meeting of the US-IndiaJoint Economic and Trade Committee (Jetco) with Commerce andIndustry Minister Anand Sharma.

It was set up in 2005 to tackle trade and investmentbarriers on both sides and promote business links. The 6thJetco meeting was held on 4 February last year in London.

Cable would also attend the launch of British IndiaInfrastructure Group which would be co-chaired by PermanentSecretary of the Department for Business, Innovation andSkills Martin Donnelly and Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla.

"There are enormous opportunities available in India''sinfrastructure sector. British companies have expertise in thesector and can help in the infrastructure development of thecountry," Stagg said.

The government has planned to invest USD 1 trillion inthe infrastructure sector during the XII Five-Year Plan(2012-2017).

Besides, Cable would hold meetings with Road andTransport Minister Kamal Nath and Minister for CorporateAffairs and Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid.

"Cable will also look at corporate governance which isvery important particularly at a moment when we move towardsmore global standardisation... We see more opportunities forboth countries to work more closely together in this regard,"Stagg said.

During 2009-10, India-UK bilateral trade stood at USD10.6 billion.

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