London: Britain and India are expected to
reach agreements on some "very big projects", including
nuclear power and higher education, during the visit of Prime
Minister David Cameron to New Delhi this month end.
"The Prime Minister is taking (to India) some of the key
ministers in the government. This is the first really big
concentrated visit of this coalition government abroad," UK`s
Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, told reporters.
There are some "very big projects" that Britain is hoping
to bring to conclusions, he said, without mentioning exact
dates for Cameron`s India visit.
"Among them is the nuclear power projects which we have
been discussing with them (India). One of the big areas where
India has a large demand and we have potential suppliers is
education; higher education. British Universities are
potentially very big collaborators in the field as well,"
Answering a question on the apprehension of Indian
companies about visa restrictions, he indicated that the
new coalition government would try to accommodate the
requirement of Indian companies.
"We are very conscious of the visa issue. Indian
companies and the Indian government representatives have made
it clear that they do need to bring people in. That is
absolutely clear. We do fully understand that. Inter-company
transfers are part of international business; we are open to
business and that includes top level managers and other staff.
There is no problem on that count."
Referring to the politics involved in it, the Business
Secretary said "the new government is expected to demonstrate
that immigration was under control; so set an overall target
for people coming from overseas on work permits.
"But we do not want to discourage people coming into
the country who have badly needed skills and the policy will
be to make sure that it does not happen."
To a question on slight decline in the bilateral trade
last year, Cable said "that is a temporary hick-up".
"If you had asked me 10 years ago about Indian investment
in the UK - whether it was significant - people would have
thought you are slightly odd and it was inconceivable. The
fact is that we know now we have major Indian investors coming
here, which is a major breakthrough. One year`s variation is
not one thing or the other. High-profile companies like Tatas
own substantial chunk of the British car and steel industry.
"We have so many pharmaceutical companies like Ranbaxy
and top level IT coming from India, besides Bollywood
companies producing films. For me it is a big historical shift
from India being a country of receiver of investment, not open
to business. Now it is much more open and has become exporter
of capital and foreign investment. It is a major transformation
and very welcome here," he said.
Cable said the visit of Prime Minister Cameron to India
is "a major one" and "not one of the occasional visits you
To a question on British government`s decision to review
company take-overs, he said: "Takeover panel which is looking
at takeovers is an independent body.
"We are looking critically at the takeover rules. In the
past it was very permissive and led to a lot of takeovers at
reduced value, not increased value. This has nothing to do
with foreign investment. Whether the company they are taking
over is British or foreign is not the issue. If the rule
changes, it will affect all companies."
Earlier, Cameron said his government has put the UK`s
ability to attract and retain inward investment at the heart
of its economic recovery plans.
Addressing the UK Trade and Investment Business Summit of
over 100 of the UK`s leading investors, including Hutchison
Whampoa, Motorola, Tata Group, Toyota, Siemens, Emirates,
Fujitsu and Pfizer, Cameron said "attracting and retaining
inward investment is hugely important for our economic
"We want Britain to be a place where companies can grow
and succeed, where the world`s biggest companies thrive, where
great ideas and innovations are turned into great products and
where we have a world-class workforce.
"We are determined to deliver the pro-business
environment investors need; getting the deficit down to create
certainty and stability, cutting business taxes, delivering
flexible employment and cutting red tape and regulation," he
The Prime Minister said: "Whether your company is
established here, expanding here or relocating here, Britain
is back open for business and it`s going to be better than
before - and better than the competition."
The UK Trade and Investment today released Britain`s
national investment figures which showed that a record numbers
of countries invested in the UK in 2009-10. Inward investment
generated 94,000 jobs over the past year, a 20 per cent rise
on the previous year.
India is the UK`s fourth largest investor, with inward
investment generating 5,889 jobs over the past year.
Addressing the gathering, Business Secretary Cable said:
"Inward investment is crucial to the success of the UK`s
economy. It creates thousands of jobs for the country and is
key to the economic growth of our regions.
"I know how attractive the UK is for doing business.
That`s why I`m so pleased that today I can meet with such
vital international companies to encourage them to keep
bringing business to Britain."