Britain, India strike major trade deals

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain and India confirmed trade deals worth billions of dollars between the two countries at talks in London on Monday.

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and his Indian counterpart, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met in London for discussions on boosting economic ties between the G20 partners.

The meeting comes after India on Friday cleared a $7.2-billion deal for Reliance Industries Ltd to sell a major stake in two dozen of its oil and gas blocks to Britain's BP.

"Today's dialogue confirmed billions of pounds of trade deals between British and Indian companies," Osborne told a press conference in London.

"I particularly welcome the Indian government's approval, ahead of our discussion today, of the deal between BP and Reliance in the Indian oil and gas sector.

"This is the single largest foreign investment in India. It's evidence of a strong two-way relationship."

He added: "I'm pleased too that Essar Energy will be investing in the UK energy sector."

Under the BP-Reliance agreement, announced in February, BP will buy a 30-percent stake in 23 of Reliance's oil and gas blocks, including India's largest gas field KG-D6, for $7.2 billion.

It also envisages a performance payment of up to $1.8 billion if the tie-up leads to the development of commercial discoveries.

"We're also confirming today a number of smaller-scale but significant deals between other British and Indian firms," Osborne said.

"In total over 3,000 British firms are investing in or planning to invest in India."

Osborne said some of the leading businesspeople from both countries would be joining him and Mukherjee for discussions later.

London is determined to boost trade with Brazil, China and India to help drag Britain out of the financial crisis.

India was Prime Minister David Cameron's first port of call for a foreign trade visit after coming to office in May last year.

The two countries are to meet for a further round of trade talks in New Delhi next year.

© 2011 AFP

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