Mon, Apr 03, 2017 - Page 14 News List

UK trade delegation heads to India after Brexit trigger


A television screen displays a “Brexit Deadline” countdown timer as British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is interviewed, while a trader works on the trading floor of ETX Capital in London on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is to head a business delegation to India this week in an effort to boost international trade as Britain begins the process of leaving the EU.

Hammond is to be joined by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Trade Mark Garnier and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney for the high-level talks in New Delhi and Mumbai.

“As we leave the EU and embark on an exciting new phase of our economic history, looking to boost our trade and investment beyond the borders of Europe and strengthening our relationships with the world’s most vibrant economies is more important than ever,” Hammond said in a statement.

Nine months after the shock referendum vote in favor of Britain exiting the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday last week formally activated Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, starting a two-year countdown for quitting the bloc.

May said Britain is to pull out of the European single market to control EU immigration as part of her Conservative government’s Brexit plans.

Britain is now looking to strike new trade deals over the coming years with non-EU nations, although it cannot do so while still a member of the bloc.

The upcoming talks form part of the annual UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue and Hammond’s delegation is to include leaders from UK financial services.

“[India’s] finance sector is undergoing a significant transformation, with new payment firms, small finance banks and insurance players entering the field,” the Treasury said in the statement. “This shift presents enormous opportunities for the UK to work much more closely with India’s own exciting Fintech sector.”

“The trip is also a significant opportunity, following the triggering of Article 50, for the chancellor to discuss Britain’s new role in the world, as it prepares to revitalize its links with friends and allies, opening up new markets and new opportunities for British businesses,” it added.

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