India and the United Kingdom are exploring creation of a sub-fund under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) for attracting investment for infrastructure development. Finance minister Arun Jaitley expects this task to be implemented “expeditiously and positively in near future”, a finance ministry statement said.
Jaitley on Monday held meetings with UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, wherein they discussed investments in NIIF and measures to enhance trade with the two nations. Jaitley further said that India has proposed termination of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA), as the Union Cabinet has approved a new model text for the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), the statement said. The new text of the BIT has already been shared with the UK Government in April 2016.
The finance minister also raised the issue of proposed Brexit and its implications on the Indian businesses and working professionals in the UK along with mentioning about new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with UK depending on terms and conditions of UK’s withdrawal arrangement from the European Union.
Fox, who is currently on a three-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai, said that UK is interested in forging deeper trade and investment arrangements with India.
In his interaction with Pritzker and Director of the US National Economic Council Jeffrey Zients, Jaitley said the NIIF has great potential and various US-based insurance and pension funds and endowment funds can invest in it, especially in infrastructure sector. “Both the leaders discussed issues relating to bilateral trade and measures to increase the trade,” according to the statement.
Pritzker expressed hope that the approved GST Bill will boost economic activities in India. She also stated that there is great potential to increase the bilateral trade among the two nations and suggested that trade dialogue between the state chief ministers and different US authorities can be given a structured shape in order to give impetus to the bilateral trade, the statement said. During the meeting, Jaitley said that many Indian states are growing at 10-11 per cent and the trade dialogue between the states and the US investors and companies can help to boost the bilateral trade between the two countries.
Jaitley said that most concerns between the countries have either been resolved or narrowed down to a large extent. He added that the CEOs of various Indian companies are in constant dialogue with their US counterparts for increased trade. The government had set up the Rs 40,000-crore NIIF in December as an investment vehicle for funding infrastructure projects. The Centre is to contribute Rs 20,000 crore to the fund and the remaining Rs 20,000 crore is expected to be raised through sovereign wealth funds.