UK using Olympics to lobby India trade deals?
London: The UK is laying out the red carpet for leaders and officials of "cash-rich" emerging countries such as India, Brazil and China during the Olympics to lobby and win high-value trade deals for British companies, a media report said Wednesday.
A building - Lancaster House - has been refurbished opposite Buckingham Palace to hold meetings between ministers and politicians from the target countries for multi-billion-pound deals that will help the ailing British economy, The Independent reported.
The deals in India that Britain reportedly seeks to win are: laying new metro lines or improving existing ones, the Navi Mumbai International Airport and the "regeneration" of Kolkata promised by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The Independent said: "A Government lobbying operation of unprecedented scale is about to begin as foreign diplomats and businessmen descend on London for the 2012 Games," and added that it had obtained a list of 50 investment projects around the world that British ministers and civil servants have been told to win during the next month.
Downing Street wants to secure at least 4 billion pounds of new deals during the Olympics beginning July 27, the report claimed.
It added: "Ministers have each been allocated specific target countries to try to close deals in the 50 projects. Many of the high-value deals are in the burgeoning 'BRIC' economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China or in the Gulf. There are also reconstruction and oil deals going in Libya and Iraq."
Lancaster House has reportedly been converted by interior designers and furniture-makers into a 'British Business Embassy' where executives, investors and policy makers will meet at a series of global investment summits.
Guests have been promised 'visionary menus and food presentations', the daily said.