UKIBC Host Roundtable with key Indian Investors in the UK and the Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone
As part of UK India Business Council’s (UKIBC) on-going COVID-19 programme, on Thursday 18th June, the UKIBC facilitated an interaction between key Indian investors in the UK with the UK Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone. Alan Gemmell, the newly installed UK Trade Commissioner in Mumbai was also in attendance.
Lord Grimstone, appointed as Minister for Investment by the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy earlier this year, is charged with highlighting the UK’s continuing attractions as an investment destination and supporting inward and outward investment from the UK.
As such, the ability of key Indian promoters and senior executives whose companies are either invested in the UK and/or wish to invest in the UK to interact directly, albeit virtually, with Lord Grimstone and Alan Gemmell is critically important for both parties, particularly at this crucial time for the UK economy and indeed the world.
Lord Grimstone’s opening remarks centered on three prominent themes:
- Refreshing the investment strategy, including that based on feedback from investors;
- working on attracting investment to the UK, via trade agreements, removing blockages to investment, and business support mechanism; and,
- how he sees the UK Government’s and his role of maintaining and encouraging inbound investment and of restoring the UK’s previous position as a highly investable economy
The Minister highlighted key themes he felt would be important in a post-COVID-19 environment, such as low carbon and clean growth, the shortening of global supply chains, ensuring resilience and preparedness within all sectors. Indeed,” resilience” was the key attribute stressed by the Minister.
Lord Grimstone spoke of the importance of the UK-India relationship with these trends in mind. While there has been some distance in recent years due to the UK’s focus on Brexit, this is a critical time to come together.
Market access issues and priority sectors will be the priority of Ministerial engagement between the UK and India, which has been stepped up in recent weeks since both countries have experienced similar patterns of coronavirus.
The participants, included promoters and senior executives of major Indian companies across multiple sectors, were able to interact with Lord Grimstone and shared their insights of the current UK operating environment as well as their immediate plans and long-term goals for investment into the UK.
While many of the participants were complimentary of the UK Government’s business-related support package to COVID-19, the business leaders were also able to give valuable critical insights into the challenges they continue to face and to make practical and constructive suggestions to the UK Government in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond on topics such as protecting jobs beyond the furlough scheme, opening the economy up, future immigration policy and encouraging innovation and R& D in critical sectors including Life-sciences and Pharma.
Lord Grimstone and the participants were agreed that increased interaction, between the public and private sectors, including through the Joint Economic Trade Committee, UK Indian Financial Partnership, the UK-India CEO forum and virtual meetings like this one, are beneficial – indeed necessary – in creating the right business environment for attracting investment into the UK and restoring the economy to normalcy.
The UKIBC was delighted to have facilitated this roundtable for Lord Grimstone and this key group of investors many of which are UKIBC members and clients. This forms part of the UKIBC’s ongoing COVID-19 engagement programme.
UKIBC supports the aim that that business to government engagement is vital to engender a constructive dialogue providing a platform for both parties to share with each other the challenges and constructive recommendations to advance investment.
The participants and the UKIBC are grateful to Lord Grimstone for his time and will continue to engage with him and his team across DIT and BEIS to advance UK-India trade and investment, following up collectively and individually on the matter raised.