London: The first meeting of the reconstituted India-UK CEOs Forum will be held on Friday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and industry leaders from the two countries attending it, during which key issues of FDI and intellectual property rights are expected to be discussed. Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry will head the forum and will be joined by Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Tata Consultancy Services CEO and managing director N. Chandrasekaran and Bharat Forge chairman Baba Kalyani at 11 Downing Street, next to British prime minister David Cameron’s office.

“The two Prime Ministers welcomed the first meeting of the reconstituted India-UK CEOs Forum. This Forum will be tasked with advising the Prime Ministers about the trade and investment opportunities and challenges," the joint statement issued by Modi and Cameron said. Key issues expected to be raised include taxation, foreign direct investment (FDI) and intellectual property rights (IPR), all of which Modi sought to pre-empt in his speech at a business meet at the Guildhall last evening.

“We have taken very decisive steps to remove a number of long-pending concerns. To give you some examples... We have expedited regulatory clearances including security and environmental clearance... We have clearly articulated that we will not resort to retrospective taxation and demonstrated this position in a number of ways; this includes not going for imposition of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on FPIs. “We have rationalised the capital gains tax regime for Real Estate Investment Trusts... We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is being finalised," he told the gathering.

As Modi begins the second day of his three-day visit, deals worth nearly £9.2 billion have already been announced, which include 28 business-to-business agreements. “It was a full day of engagement which included the conclusion of a civil nuclear agreement. Details of this will become clear over time but it involves a full chain agreement which will cover research and exchange of best practices... it opens up a whole world of opportunities for both countries," ministry of external affairs spokesperson said.

Vodafone’s announcement of a £1.3-billion investment package for India has been highlighted as a “big positive story" of the visit as the company has been at the centre of taxation rows in the past. Other key announcements included King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Indo-UK Healthcare Pvt Ltd’s pact to open King’s College Hospital in Chandigarh, which will lead to creation of jobs for 2,500 nurses and 500 doctors.

Genus ABS will be investing £1 million in India, providing the latest dairy genetics and constructing a state-of-the-art facility near Pune in Maharashtra. Lightsource, the largest Solar PV generator in the UK and Europe, has announced a £2 billion investment in India. E-commerce cloud platform provider cloudBuy is signing a contract with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for an online business-to-business marketplace. Over the next five years the platform is projected to facilitate transactions worth £3.5 billion and increase trade further between traditional business partners India and the UK, with an estimated boost to the UK economy of £70 million.

In a deal worth £20 million, Holland and Barrett International announced they have partnered with Apollo Hospitals, and are to open 1,000 outlets in India over the next five years, creating an expected 1,500 jobs. Modi is expected to conclude his visit to the UK with a tour of one of the biggest success stories of India-UK collaboration—Tata Motors-owned Jaguar Land Rover’s plant in Solihull, in the West Midlands region, on Saturday. PTI

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