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Ministerial Level India-UK Economic And Financial Dialogue Continues

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, London

13 August 2008


The second meeting of the Ministerial level India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue was held in London on Monday, the Indian authorities have announced.

The Indian side was led by Indian Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, and the UK side by Alistair Darling, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr Darling hosted a working lunch in honour of his Indian counterpart and the visiting delegation, during which global macro-economic issues were discussed in the context of rising fuel, food and energy costs. The matter of climate change and enhancing cooperation in the field of renewable sources of energy was also discussed.

The Finance Minister and the Chancellor had a one-to-one meeting in which it was agreed to undertake a joint study on non-tariff barriers to trade, including domestic regulations in services, and how they could be removed.

Both sides also acknowledged the promising start to the work on intellectual property as joint co-chairs of the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation work stream within the G8 Heiligendam Process.

The two Ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding to encourage sharing of best practices in the development of Public Private Partnerships.

Following the meeting, Darling and Chidambaram issued a joint statement, announcing that:

“We - Chancellor Darling and Minister Chidambaram - met today for the second Ministerial round of the UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue. The challenges currently facing the global economy can only be overcome through a constructive dialogue between countries to help find a global solution."

"Today's meeting demonstrates the importance our countries place on our bilateral relationship and the ties that bind our economies."

The two men continued:

"We believe that open markets, operating through a free and fair trading regime, will be crucial for overcoming the challenges facing the global economy. Both India and the UK share a strong commitment to a multilateral, rules-based trading system and an open and transparent investment regime. We are deeply disappointed by the recent pause in the Doha Development Round talks."

"Today we discussed the way forward. We urge all parties to show greater flexibility to agree on free and fair trade rules that deliver a balanced result for the world's poor and the global economy. Bilateral initiatives will also be important, and we are pleased to announce that the UK and India will undertake a joint-study into non-tariff barriers, including domestic regulations in services, to trade between India and the UK and how they could be removed."

"We also acknowledge the promising beginning to our work on intellectual property as joint co-chairs of the Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation work stream within the G8 Heiligendamm Process."

They further observed that: "The recent volatility of international capital markets has once again underscored the importance of open, efficient, and transparent financial markets for sustained high economic growth and development. Both countries agree on the need to reform the International Financial Institutions, and support an effective multilateral response to the global challenges and opportunities facing us."

"In recent years financial ties between India and the UK have been further strengthened, with a number of Indian banks operating in the UK, a number of British banks operating in India, and many Indian companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. We reaffirmed our support for liberalised financial markets that permit financial services and related businesses to operate in the UK and India on a level playing field. We agreed that the UK would collaborate closely to support India's efforts to maintain momentum on key areas of financial sector reform in the coming months."

"India has embarked upon a very ambitious PPP programme for infrastructure development. In the next five years, it is expected that 500 billion US dollars will be invested in infrastructure development and augmentation, of which 150 billion US dollars will be private sector investment. We agreed that Public Private Partnerships could provide a value for money means of delivering this investment. Today, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding between HM Treasury and the Indian Ministry of Finance to encourage sharing of best practice in the development of Public Private Partnerships."

And concluded: "Today's dialogue reaffirmed the continued strength of the modern UK-India economic and financial relationship, and the value placed on these by both governments."

"We agreed to meet again for the next round of the dialogue in India in 2009, and emphasised that our ongoing cooperation in the economic and financial spheres is, and will be, a truly collaborative relationship."


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