City of London Asia chief on India visit to promote eco ties

City of London Asia chief on India visit to promote eco ties

By Aditi Khanna

London, Jan 30 (PTI) The City of London Corporation?s Special Adviser for Asia Sherry Madera has embarked on a four-day visit to India to promote financial sector cooperation.

Madera, who recently launched the corporation?s Asia Next Decade campaign to focus the City?s attention on expanding ties in the region, will hold meetings in New Delhi and Mumbai in the lead up to the Union Budget on Thursday.

The corporation, the municipal governing body of the financial district of the British capital, has made some recommendationsto the Ministry of Finance and Indian tax authorities alongside UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

"Reducing tax uncertainty for international institutional investors and multinational corporations is critical to improving the investment climate in India. Its no secret that nothing frightens investors more than uncertainty, and uncertainty around tax is no exception to this rule," Madera said yesterday on the eve of her India visit.

"International businesses welcomed the announcement in the 2015-16 Budget text of a phased reduction of corporate tax rates from 30 per cent to 25 per cent by 2019-20, and we at the City Corporation were pleased when an initial reduction to 29 per cent was made,? she noted.

Madera indicated that many UK investors would like to see the drop to 25 per cent happen sooner than 2019-20 and that such a measure would bring India in line with globally competitive economies.

The corporation also flagged pending arbitration cases, involving the Vodafone Group and Cairn Energy, which need to be resolved.

"Disputes such as these not only lead to financial losses but also can challenge the reputation of India as an investment destination,? warned Madera.

The City of London Corporation, which provides local government and policing services for what is known as the "Square Mile" of London, said the City remains attractive to Indian businesses despite the challenges of Brexit.

"London is strengthening its dominance as the leading destination for Indian investment in the UK, with nearly half of the fastest-growing Indian companies now based in London, with tech accounting for nearly half of investment," noted Madera.

While praising Indias recent jump of 30 places in the World Bank?s Ease of Doing Business rankings and welcoming the introduction of the Goods and Service Tax (GST), she urged the Indian government to consider "simpler compliance and regulatory procedures for GST".

"I would like to see the Indian government simplify the process of filingreturns, which would generate more industry confidence and lead to a smoother implementation," she added.

The corporation, which is marking the 10-year anniversary of its representative office in Mumbai this year, said it is "deeply encouraged" by the messages coming from the Indian government on improving the taxation framework to stimulate investment and economic growth. PTI AK PMS