India, Britain to double trade in five years: PM

July 29th, 2010 - 11:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) India and Britain have agreed to double their bilateral trade - currently at 8 billion pounds - by 2015, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Thursday.
“We will work towards doubling our trade in the next five years,” Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference here, after holding extensive talks with his visiting British counterpart David Cameron.

The bilateral trade has increased from 4 billion pounds in 2003-2004 to 8 billion pounds in 2008-9. But, in relative terms, trade has stagnated with Britain dropping to the 18th spot from being in the top five of India’s trade partners five years ago.

The importance of the economic component in bilateral relations was evident by the fact that Cameron arrived in India with the largest ever business delegation accompanying a British prime minister on a visit to India.

Further, both countries have decided to constitute a India-UK chief executive officer’s forum, to be co-chaired by Tata group chairman Ratan Tata and the head of Standard Chartered Bank, Peter Sands.

“It will meet alternately in India and the UK and will make recommendations to the two governments on how to increase levels of trade and investment in each others’ economies,” said a joint press statement.

It was also agreed to establish an India-UK infrastructure group, which will draw on “expertise of the private sector, which would help identify barriers to investment and potential solutions”. They also agreed to hold discussions on a memorandum of understanding to increase investment in the road sector.

Earlier this year, India and Britain signed an agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear power. Both leaders said that the deal has “created opportunities for wide ranging cooperation between the countries in the nuclear field including with regard to nuclear trade and exchanges between scientific institutions”.

There was also a mention of the under-discussion India-European Union Free Trade Agreement, with both countries hoping for its early completion.

“They also agreed on the importance of pressing for a conclusion of the Doha Round at the earliest opportunity,” added the joint press statement.

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