India has retained its position as the third largest investor in Britain, according to official UK government figures released on Tuesday (August 30).
The US remains the biggest source of inward investment, accounting for 570 projects, and China grabs the second spot with 156 projects, the UK’s Department for International Trade data showed.
The latest investment figures come as a boost following the Brexit vote in June, as the country emerged as the most popular destination in the European Union for overseas firms.
The UK recorded a total of 2,213 inward investment projects, up 11 per cent on the previous year, with 116,000 jobs “created or safeguarded” by overseas investment last year.
“These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business. We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment,” said UK international trade secretary Dr Liam Fox, who was in India this week to hold talks with finance minister Arun Jaitley and commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
“The UK-India partnership lies at the very heart of the strategic relationship between our two nations, a relationship that has never been more important than it is today,” he said.
Britain cannot engage in formal trade talks with other nations while it remains a member of the EU but informal talks on the idea of future deals can be discussed.
Once Article 50 is invoked and the official process for Britain’s exit from the economic bloc is set in motion, the UK is reportedly keen to strike pacts with emerging markets like India and China.
While in India, Fox also met major Indian firms in the information technology sector including HCL and Tech Mahindra.
“The UK is the investment destination of choice for Indian ICT companies, and the secretary of state [Fox] discussed future investment opportunities in the UK,” his department said in a statement on Tuesday.
This is the fourth visit by a British minister to India since Theresa May took over as prime minister in July.
Last month, UK secretary of state for business and energy Greg Clark and secretary of state for international development Priti Patel visited India.
Another Indian-origin minister Alok Sharma, who took charge as minister for Asia in the UK Foreign Office, was the first to make a tour of India last month.