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Common Questions About Foreign Portfolio Investment

India’s currency has weakened due to a significant outflow of funds. However, its strong underlying strengths and projected growth continue to make it an appealing prospect for foreign investors.

Indian investors can invest from anywhere via several routes: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), Foreign Venture Capital Investment, and Alternative Investment Fund.

Today’s topic of discussion is one of the most popular investment paths – Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI).

What is Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI)?

Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) refers to the investment made by non-residents in Indian securities. These securities may include shares, government bonds, corporate bonds, convertible securities, and units of business trusts, among others. Investors who fall under this category are known as Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs).

Can you provide information about India's main laws and regulations for a Foreign Portfolio Investor (FPI)?

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) primarily regulates foreign portfolio investments in India. Recently, SEBI has introduced new regulations, called SEBI (Foreign Portfolio Investors) Regulations, 2019, which replace the old 2014 Regulations. In addition to these regulations, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) must comply with the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 and the Income-tax Act of 1961.

What are the different Types/Categories of Foreign Portfolio Investors in India?

An applicant can obtain an FPI license under SEBI regulations in one of two categories below:

(a) “Category I FPI”, mainly includes:

  • Investors associated with the government or government entities
  • Pension funds and university funds are two separate types of financial entities
  • Entities like asset managers, banks, and investment advisors should be appropriately regulated
  • Entities that meet the eligibility criteria set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member countries

(b) “Category II FPI” includes all investors who are not eligible under Category I:

  • Funds that are appropriately regulated cannot be considered as Category-I foreign portfolio investors
  • Endowments and foundations are charitable organizations supporting a specific cause or mission
  • “Corporate bodies” refers to organizations or groups legally recognized as distinct entities from their members or owners
  • Family offices
  • Individuals
  • Unregulated funds can take the form of limited partnerships and trusts.

What are the advantages of registering as a Category I FPI compared to Category II?

The main advantages of category I are listed below:

(a) Determining the eligibility to issue Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs);

(b) Compared to Category II FPIs, Category I FPIs enjoy easier compliance with certain KYC norms.

(c) Regarding stock and currency derivatives, the position limits have been increased.

Category I FPIs are exempt from the Indian Income-tax Act’s “Indirect Transfer” provisions. These provisions apply to overseas investors who transfer shares/interest in an overseas entity with assets in India.

What are the key operational aspects to consider when making a foreign portfolio investment?

The following are the significant operational features:

1. Appoint a legal representative:

To obtain an FPI license under SEBI regulations in India, it is necessary to appoint a legal representative to assist in the process. The application needs to be submitted in the prescribed format, along with all the required documentation. Financial institutions authorized by the Reserve Bank of India can act as legal representatives and reputable law firms.

2. Appoint a Tax advisor:

If you are an FPI working in India, complying with all tax obligations is essential. A tax advisor can help you with this by maintaining records, issuing certificates for repatriating funds out of India, handling annual tax compliances, and representing you before tax authorities. By hiring a tax advisor, you can ensure that you meet all the requirements and avoid any legal issues related to taxes in India.

3. Appoint a Domestic Custodian

Before investing in India, appointing a domestic custodian to provide custodial services such as banking and Demat operations for your securities is essential. A domestic custodian refers to any entity registered with SEBI to carry out the activity of providing custodial services for securities.

What tax compliances must an FPI follow under the Income Tax Act of 1961?

Foreign Portfolio Investors invest in securities such as shares, bonds, debentures, and units of business trust, earning income in the form of dividends, interest, and capital gains. They must remit this income and capital investment out of India regularly.

To remit funds, deposit the applicable income tax with the government treasury. Taxes depend on the nature of the income and can be paid through withholding or self-assessment. Also, the banker must have a tax advisor’s certificate to remit the funds.

FPIs must file an annual tax return electronically at the end of each Indian financial year. If requested, tax authorities may scrutinize the return.

FPIs face several burning issues under the current tax regime

Many Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) structured as non-corporates have to pay a higher surcharge rate on their income from capital gains. As a result, several FPIs are contemplating converting their structure from non-corporate to corporate. However, this conversion may attract General Anti Avoidance Rules (GAAR) under Indian tax laws.

FPIs with fund managers in India with potential business connections must satisfy prescribed conditions.

Areas Where IMC Can Assist FPIs:
IMC Group has a team of experts to help Foreign Portfolio Investors invest in India. We offer the following services:
How to Choose the Right Zoho Implementation Partner for Your Business

We are in the era of digitalization where rapid changes are happening in digital space. Many huge businesses are ruling their industries with the help of SaaS companies. One such SaaS provider is Zoho which is a popular name in providing CRM services to businesses.

Zoho is a SaaS company that provides various applications that allow businesses to manage customer relationships through various products offered by Zoho. It includes CRM, project management, emails, invoicing, an attendance platform, and more.

Many companies fail to understand that implementation of Zoho in the business is the most important step for using Zoho services according to your needs. You need the best partner to implement Zoho based on your requirements. The process is challenging and might be impossible for in-house developers until they know the ins and outs of Zoho. A Zoho implementation partner is the best way to proceed to avoid any costly mistakes during implementations.

Discussed below are some tips to guide you on how to find the best partner for your Zoho implementation.

Understanding Your Needs

What are the services you require? Is it CRM, emails, or project management? Whatever is your requirement, make an estimated budget for the same. After your requirements and budget are finalized, you can go ahead in selecting the Zoho partner to implement your needs in your budget.

Market Reputation and Experience

Being a part of the industry, every company maintains a market reputation. You should be in a partnership with a company that maintains good work with its clients and works as a reputed business in the industry.

Another vital thing to consider is the expertise and knowledge of the company in your domain of work. Choose a Zoho implantation partner who can easily understand your business and customize your Zoho based on your business requirements. For example, if your business needs CRM implementation from Zoho, choosing a partner who has first-hand experience in CRM implementations will make the process seamless and right on track.

Customer Experience and Support

Your Zoho implementation partner will be your first point of contact for any problems related to your Zoho. Your Zoho partner should be able to solve all technical hitches occurring during or after the implementation. A good support team will be able to solve all your problems and provide helpful advice to any question. Zoho Books support is another way to solve your issues which allows you to take direct help from Zoho. However, having a Zoho partner as your support team is helpful in the long run.

Quality over Price

The overall cost of a Zoho implementation partner depends on many factors including your business needs, Zoho license, users count, data migration, user training, and the location of the partner. The charge of your Zoho partner will depend on many other factors like the complexity of the project, time taken for the project, and the Zoho services you have opted for.

For example, you might have shortlisted some partners having different price budgets, it is not wise to go for the partner with the lowest cost. You should always consider quality over cost. Don’t settle for lower budgets which might increase your costs later if the implementation is not done as per your requirements.


A Zoho implementation partner is crucial to have for a better and more focused implementation of a Zoho product in your business operations. With so many partners online, choosing one can be overwhelming. However, you can consider the tips mentioned above and choose the partner best suited to your needs and budget.

India and Singapore Strengthen Economic Partnership: An Examination of Trade and Investment Trends

India and Singapore are consistently strengthening their Strategic Partnership, with Singapore contributing to a quarter of India’s trade with Southeast Asia during FY 2021-22. Furthermore, Singapore has emerged as India’s leading foreign direct investment (FDI) source, and its prominent FDI firms are actively engaging in company formation in India for urban planning and infrastructure projects across the nation. This growing economic cooperation demonstrates the significant role Singapore plays in India’s trade and investment landscape.

Economic Ties Secured by the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)

CECA serves as an essential platform for economic cooperation between India and Singapore, initiated in 2005. Since then, bilateral trade has expanded from US$6.7 billion in FY 2005 to US$30.11 billion by FY 2022. Singapore has become India’s sixth-largest trade partner, while India ranks 12th for Singapore.

Since 1990, Singaporean firms have become one of the primary sources of FDI into India, contributing nearly 23% of total inflows, totalling approximately US$140.98 billion over that time frame. Singaporean firms play a critical role in urban planning and infrastructure development in India.

India and Singapore enjoy an expansive bilateral relationship that spans political, defense, economic, technological, and cultural ties. Both countries actively participate in various international fora and have signed various agreements to facilitate collaboration. These agreements include the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Defense Cooperation Agreement, which further facilitate cooperation.

India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable

The inaugural India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable took place in New Delhi in September 2022. It provided a platform to explore existing and emerging areas of cooperation such as digital connectivity, fintech, green economy/green hydrogen production/use, skill development, and food security. At this event, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signed an Agreement on Fintech Cooperation between them and the International Financial Services Centers Authority (IFSCA) of Gujarat state.

Bilateral trade between India and Singapore reached US$14.75 billion during FY 2023 (April to August 2022), a 24.7% rise over its prior-year totals. This increase is attributable to both CECA’s success and the strengthening of the Strategic Partnership between both nations.


India and Singapore share a robust economic partnership, reinforced by the Strategic Partnership and CECA agreements. These agreements have led to significant growth in trade and investment between the two nations. As collaboration on a variety of issues continues to expand, the future holds immense potential for even greater economic cooperation. If you are considering company formation in Singapore or India, let IMC Group assist you in navigating this promising landscape. IMC Group can guide you through the process of company formation, ensuring a seamless experience.

India’s SME-Friendly Budget Creates Profitable Opportunities for Singaporean Businesses, Reports Singapore Chamber

The future of small businesses in Singapore and India is looking brighter than ever! The SICCI has hailed India’s SME-friendly budget for 2023-24, paving the way for exciting new collaborations and growth opportunities. Joining forces for company formation in Singapore and India, the possibilities are endless for both nations’ dynamic small business sectors.

Which sectors in India are expected to benefit the most from the budget?

The sectors that are expected to benefit the most from India’s SME-friendly budget are infrastructure, healthcare, education, and agriculture. These sectors have been given significant attention in the budget, with a considerable amount of funds allocated to their development.

Neil Parekh, the Chairman of SICCI, expressed his optimism about the target of Saptarishi announced by India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He highlighted the potential for green growth, leveraging youth power, and promoting the development of the financial sector.

He stated that our team looks forward to collaborating closely with our counterparts in India to drive growth and innovation in the SME sectors of both countries.

He praised the SME-friendly budget and stated that the first step would be to reach out to the leadership of ASSOCHAM (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India), with whom they have already signed an MoU, to expand further their areas of cooperation outlined in the Indian Budget 2023-2024.

He noted that the proposed 30 international skill centres would be set up across various states to provide skill training for youth to pursue global opportunities.

The SICCI sees excellent potential in collaborating with our Indian counterparts to transfer technology, expertise, and talent to equip the younger generation in India with the skills and knowledge to seize global opportunities. The proposed international skill centres, especially in sectors such as green technology, IT and digital technology, and healthcare, where skilled professionals are in high demand, present excellent opportunities for cooperation.

He also expressed his interest in tourism development in India, stating that SICCI is keen to connect state governments with officials from the Singapore Tourism Board and Enterprise Singapore to exchange the best practices for developing the sector. This collaboration will bring benefits to the citizens of India and global tourists.

With India’s economy projected to grow by 7% in 2023, the SICCI and its members are poised to seize many exciting opportunities, including forming companies in India and collaborating with Singapore for business growth. The 99-year-old Indian business group with over 550 members eagerly anticipates the potential for innovation and expansion highlighted by Parekh, the group’s leader.

A Comprehensive Guide to Statutory and Supplementary Employee Benefits in India

India is a great place to hire remote workers who speak English. But, because of complicated employment laws in India, companies need to know about employee benefits to follow the rules and stay competitive. This guide explains Indian employee benefits to help companies grow their business in India.

What are the Different Kinds of Employee Benefits Available in India?

In India, there are two types of employee benefits: statutory and supplemental. Statutory benefits are compulsory, and supplemental benefits are offered to attract and retain talent. The government enforces statutory benefits such as state insurance, gratuity payments, and provident funds. Supplemental benefits like personalized health insurance and disability coverage are additional.

Here are some detailed Statutory and Supplemental benefits.

Mandatory Employee Statutory Benefits in India

Statutory benefits are mandatory, legally required benefits that employers must provide to employees, such as medical insurance and paid time off. Employers can also offer supplemental benefits to enhance existing benefits, and fringe benefits to provide additional compensation. These benefits help attract and retain top talent.

Understanding Social Security Benefits

Indian employment law mandates two types of social security benefits – Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) and Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). The EPF scheme covers retirement funds, pension, and life insurance and is a mandatory savings scheme for employees, requiring contributions from both employers and employees. The scheme aims to ensure financial security for retired employees. Understanding social security benefits is crucial for both employers and employees.

Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Medical Insurance Benefits

The Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act in India applies to businesses with at least 10 employees earning less than INR 21,000 per month. Employers contribute 4.75% of their employee’s wages to the ESI fund, while employees contribute 1.75% of their wages. This entitles employees to medical benefits, including hospitalization, maternity, disability, and sickness benefits, among others. The ESI Act ensures that employees have access to medical benefits and financial support during challenging times. Employers must adhere to the ESI Act and contribute to their employees’ ESI fund to comply with Indian employment law. This ensures to cover the dependent family members of the employee.

Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Retirement Fund Benefits

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Act was established under The Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 1952. Employees working for companies with 20 or more employees and earning less than INR 15,000 per month must contribute 12% of their wages monthly, while employers contribute their part additionally. Upon retirement, employees receive a payout from the EPF, including interest.

Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) - Eligibility and Benefits

The Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) in India collects a percentage of an employee’s income to provide a pension after the age of 58. When employers contribute 12% of the employee’s salary to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), 8.33% goes to the EPS. The scheme provides pension payments for life, and in case of the member’s demise, their nominee will receive the pension. The scheme carries no investment risks for employees as the Indian government sponsors the EPS and guarantees returns.

Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI)

Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI) in India: An automatic life insurance policy offered by the EPF scheme where the registered nominee receives a lump-sum payment in the event of the insured person’s death. The scheme is funded by 0.5% of the employer’s 12% salary contribution towards EPF.

Exploring the Benefits of Gratuity

Gratuity benefits are available to employees who have worked for their employer for over five years and retire, resign, or become disabled. The gratuity payment is equivalent to 15 days of wages for every year of employment. This scheme applies to employees working in establishments with 10 or more employees, including factories, mines, and ports.

Supplemental Benefits for Employees in India

Supplemental benefits are extra perks that employers provide to enhance the medical, retirement, and insurance coverage of their workers. These benefits often extend to the employees’ families and offer a higher level of coverage than the mandatory benefits. Examples of supplemental benefits include dental and vision insurance, retirement contributions, and extended leave. With workers worldwide seeking employers who prioritize their well-being and that of their families, a robust supplemental benefits package has become essential in attracting and retaining top talent. As such, employers are increasingly offering such packages to make their companies more attractive to prospective employees and keep their current workforce satisfied.

Supplemental Medical Coverage for Employees Benefits

Supplemental Medical Coverage is a common benefit offered by employers to their management-level employees, providing additional coverage beyond their basic medical insurance plans. This type of coverage often includes maternity care, cancer treatments, and fertility treatment, and may also extend to dependents and partners.

Supplemental Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Coverage Benefits

Employers often offer supplemental life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage to employees as an additional benefit. This type of coverage provides employees with peace of mind, knowing that their families will be taken care of in the event of an unexpected tragedy.

Supplemental life insurance typically covers an employee’s beneficiaries in the event of their death, with the payout amount determined by the employee’s salary and chosen coverage level. AD&D coverage provides additional benefits to an employee or their beneficiaries in the event of a serious injury or death resulting from an accident.

Offering supplemental life and AD&D coverage can set a company apart from other employers in the eyes of job seekers. It shows that the company values the well-being of its employees and their families and is willing to go above and beyond to provide them with additional protection and support.

Providing Compliant and Competitive Employee Benefits Packages in India

Global companies that want to hire employees in India attract and retain top talent by offering comprehensive and compliant benefits that exceed the market standard. Still, ensuring your benefits packages are competitive and legally sound is complicated. Instead, work with an experienced global partner like IMC Group to create market-specific rewards packages on your behalf.

Our Global Benefits solution helps employers gain a competitive edge in the hiring process by offering locally competitive benefits packages that go beyond statutory requirements and ensure your talent feels valued. Plus, you gain peace of mind knowing that your benefits offerings always comply with local labor laws.

If you’re looking to attract top-tier talent in India, IMC Group is your solution.

Four Compelling Reasons Why Businesses Should Consider Hiring Talent from India

If you’re looking to hire top-notch IT talent, India should be on your list of global destinations. Many companies around the world rely on Indian talent to thrive in today’s digital era. India’s abundant pool of skilled and educated professionals in the technology industry is a significant draw for companies seeking innovative solutions.

1: India's Talent Pool Continues to Grow as a Prime Destination for Hiring

India is an ideal location for a talent hunt, as it boasts a significant number of highly educated and skilled workers, and millions of students join the workforce every year. This talent pool makes India a prime destination for companies looking to hire skilled workers. The Indian Government’s vision to create a technologically advanced and digitally empowered society is being reinforced by the recent New Education Policy that emphasizes the integration of technology into education. This effort includes initiatives such as high-speed internet availability, seamlessly integrated services, mobile phone and bank account enablement, and universal digital literacy, among others.

With these strategies in place, the Indian government is recognizing the nation’s potential as a global technology leader and positioning it as a top talent market for companies looking to recruit top-tier workers.

2: India: The Top Destination for Sourcing Skilled Tech Talent

The demand for skilled workers in the technology sector is increasing rapidly. As a result, businesses are turning to India, which is recognized as the top global destination for sourcing tech talent by the India Brand Equity Foundation.

Indian IT & BPM have established over 1,000 delivery facilities in approximately 80 countries, and in the next five years, 40 percent of Indian developers are expected to enhance their skills. The IT sector’s export revenue is projected to increase by eight to nine percent annually.

To support this growth, the Indian Government is investing heavily in infrastructure. Additionally, India ranked second in the 2019 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, with 48.1 percent of those surveyed expecting India’s e-commerce market to grow at the same pace as, or even faster than China.

3: Leveraging India's Cost-Effective Workforce for Your Hiring Need

Compared to other regions such as Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe, salaries for web developers in India are lower, making it an attractive option for companies seeking to minimize their hiring costs. Despite this, a report by NASSCOM indicates that 79% of HR leaders anticipate significant challenges in keeping up with the rapidly evolving technology landscape. This underscores the importance of hiring qualified professionals who are up to date with the latest trends and technologies, and India’s pool of skilled talent can be a valuable resource in meeting this need.

4: How Regulatory Changes are Making the Country a More Attractive Destination for International Companies

In 2019, the Indian government introduced the Personal Data Protection Bill in parliament, aimed at safeguarding individuals’ personal data and preventing companies from misusing it. However, the bill also has implications for international companies that are hiring in India, as it provides a framework to protect their data as well. This legislation is critical in ensuring that businesses are able to operate in a secure environment, which is essential for companies with sensitive data such as financial information, trade secrets, and proprietary data.

The Personal Data Protection Bill establishes guidelines for collecting, processing, and storing personal data, and mandates that companies obtain consent from individuals before collecting their data. This is a crucial safeguard that ensures individuals have control over their data and how it is used. The bill also stipulates that companies must implement reasonable security practices and procedures to protect personal data from unauthorized access, modification, disclosure, or destruction.

Overall, the Personal Data Protection Bill is a positive development for international companies looking to hire in India, as it demonstrates the government’s commitment to protecting their data and creating a secure business environment.

Hiring Talents in India with an Employer of Record EOR Services provider

Looking to expand your business overseas and hire top talent, but worried about the compliance and legal complexities of doing so? Look no further than an Employer of Record (EOR) solution!

An EOR takes care of all the legal and administrative details of hiring international employees, including payroll, taxes, benefits, and HR. With a locally compliant entity in place, you can avoid the red tape involved in registering with local authorities and rest easy knowing that your business is fully compliant with all relevant laws and regulations.

With an EOR, you can focus on what you do best – growing your business and tapping into the global talent pool. Contact us today to learn more about how an EOR can help you expand your business overseas and hire the best talent, hassle-free!

Omicron Won’t Derail Economic Growth and Job Prospects: Says RBI

Narrating the recent Omicron surge as “a flash flood than a wave”, the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) report claimed the country’s economy to be on strong footing despite the rapid surge of new and more transmissible covid 19 cases. The near term economic prospects remain unaffected, reported RBI.

“On the vaccination front, India has made rapid strides. On the Omicron variant, the recent data from the UK and South Africa suggest that such infections are 66 to 80% less severe, with a lower need for hospitalisation,” the recently published RBI Bulletin noted.

Community Mobility indicators revealed that in January 2022, the public movement dropped in some cities but was higher compared to covid 2nd wave and remained above its pre-pandemic level. There has been an increase in electricity generation which reached pre-pandemic levels, RBI said.

As the new year 2022 arrived, covid recovery in India faced headwinds as in the rest of global economies due to a rapid surge of Omicron cases. However, business and consumer confidence haven’t been dented that severely and acted as the silver lining for the nation’s economy, RBI highlighted.

The RBI said that the trajectory of Omicron, the new Covid-19 variant, is on a declining mode and the average demand conditions look strong and resilient with consumer and business confidence remaining upbeat including an increase in aggregate bank credit levels for doing business in India.

“Nonetheless, amidst upbeat consumer and business confidence and an uptick in bank credit, aggregate demand conditions stay resilient, while on the supply front, rabi sowing has exceeded last year’s level and the normal acreage,” the RBI reported.

The RBI report mentioned that reduction in inflation may not fade away too quickly and it is being monitored closely. There are signs of improvement as supply chain disruptions are slowly easing and burgeoning shipping costs are steadily reducing, RBI said.

There are signs of recovery and expansion in manufacturing and several categories of service sectors, India’s Central Bank reported. It also highlighted saying, “Overall economic activity in India remains strong, with upbeat consumer and business confidence and upticks in several incoming high-frequency indicators.”

The RBI re-emphasized that the new covid variant caused much less hospitalization and sounded optimistic on the near-term economic prospects and financial markets. India’s digital payment ecosystem is also in rapid expansion mode as opposed to a clouded and uncertain global economic outlook. “Inflation continues to mount across geographies amidst disruptions in production, supply chains and transportation,” the report mentioned.

There are widening differences observed in monetary policy stances of different countries due to economic uncertainty caused by higher inflation, disruptions in production, supply chain and transportation, the RBI noted. On the positive side, this also opens a window of opportunity to mobilize all resources on enhancing the global recovery, it added.

As per the Commerce and Industry Ministry report, India has registered the highest-ever annual FDI inflow of USD 81.97 billion during FY21 as several foreign investors preferred company formation in India.

India-UAE-Israel Trilateral Summit Symbolizes Synergy and Economic Strength and Resilience

Driven by common goals and philosophy for regional peace, economic growth & sustainability, India and Israel joined hands for a trilateral economic summit in Dubai on Tuesday, 19th October 2021. Business leaders from India, UAE and Israel could well visualize the potential of trilateral cooperation in many fields and projects and long cherished a collaborative approach to address the same. The economic summit was attended by more than 250 delegates, industry experts and Government Officials from the three countries.

The agenda of the summit was to discuss measures for assessing and optimising trilateral opportunities in trade and investment. The Economic Summit was a one-day forum and a joint effort of the Consulates of Israel and India in Dubai, the Israel Export Institute, the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Bank Hapoalim, Bank of Baroda and media partner Khaleej Times. Bank of Baroda and IBPC Dubai also sponsored the summit.

The summit witnessed several panellists and experts highlight prospects of joint projects in various fields. After the general discussion session, the sectoral panel discussions were held in the fields of technology, agritech, infrastructure, clean energy, food technology, water technology, tourism & smart cities, technology collaboration including harnessing the potential of the medical and health care sector.

The brainstorming and discussion sessions centred around the possible joint projects and assessing mutual benefits. India was represented by the three young unicorn panellists Nikhil Kamath of Zerodha, Nishant Pitti and Prashant Pitti of Ease My Trip and Sujeet Kumar of Udaan.

Abraham Peace Accords and recent government policy reforms in UAE and India made the delegates strongly believe in the trilateral synergy and an economic force to reckon with. All of them actively participated in the economic summit and Indian companies were invited to visit Israel for exploring collaborative opportunities in various sectors.

The Consul-General of India to Dubai, Dr Aman Puri termed this event as a ‘force multiplier’ and said, “The Indian business community in the UAE could significantly leverage the strengths of this trilateral to boost the economic growth of all nations.” He also mentioned this event as an ideal platform for the three countries to explore areas of collaboration and partnership in both private and public enterprises.

“This trilateral economic summit is taking place at an opportune time with the first anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords having been commemorated recently. I would like to congratulate both the UAE and Israel on their outstanding efforts in fostering regional peace and trust. The Abraham Accords was a landmark event that has not only had a significant impact on trade interest between the UAE and Israel but also helped to promote regional peace and prosperity. I commend the vision and commitment of the UAE and Israel leaders as well as the people of the two countries in forging such a historic, multilateral alliance that will have a significant positive impact on all nations,” Dr Puri remarked.

Dr Puri emphasized that India being the third-largest start-up ecosystem could bring tremendous growth opportunities from a company formation in India.  He identified Israel as a powerhouse of research & development including startups and appreciated UAE for its relentless support for SMEs and startups and numerous incentives for new company formation in Dubai.

Ilan Sztulman, Consul General of Israel to Dubai also highlighted the opportunities of this trilateral summit for mutual collaboration and doing business together. He noted saying, “This forum is symbolic as it comes immediately after the signing of the important economic cooperation agreement between Israel, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and India on shared issues of concern in the region and globally.”

All the three countries, Israel, India and the UAE are tech-centric and have a deep interest in technology and once together can be an innovative force, the Chairman of IBPC commented.

The President, Manufacturers Association of Israel and CEO, Unipharm Ltd. Dr Ron Tomer noted that these three nations are complementary to each other and can make a win-win situation for everyone. He also informed that Israel’s FTA with India was in progress and the same with UAE was under discussion.

Chairman, KEF Holdings Faizal Kottikollon shared his thoughts on the major healthcare and education projects currently undergoing in India where a collaborative approach can benefit all three countries.

Many eminent personalities from the business and industrial arena took part in the event such as Adiv Baruch, Chairman of the Israel Export Institute; Ahmad Sultan Al Haddad, COO, JAFZA; Professor Leonardo Leiderman, Chief Economic Advisor, Bank Hapoalim and Professor of Economics and Business, Tel Aviv University; and many more.

The combined strengths of India, Israel and the UAE can propel the trilateral trade between the countries to a high of USD 110 billion by 2030, many top diplomats and industry experts have commented.

The comments came up during an event organised by the International Federation of Indo-Israel Chambers of Commerce (IFIICC) to discuss the ongoing business collaborations being facilitated by IFIICC across various sectors.

“The international business potential backed by Israeli innovation, UAE’s visionary leadership and strategic partnership of both nations with India could be USD 110 billion by 2030,” Head of the Israeli mission in Dubai, Consul General Ilan Sztulman said in a press release issued by IFIICC.

As India has a very constructive partnership with the UAE and also enjoys an equally wonderful relationship with Israel, post-Abraham Peace Accord between Israel and UAE can be the most opportune period to bring everything together for the economic good of the citizens of the three counties and open floodgates of opportunities for new business setup in the region.

PM Modi Interacts with American CEOs on Business Opportunities in India

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set out on a three-day tour to the US from 22-25 September for attending the first in-person Quad Summit and began his visit schedule in the US on 23rd, Thursday by attending a session with prominent American CEOs from five different key sectors and appraised them on the business opportunities and key benefits of company registration in India.

Modi landed in the US on Wednesday and held face-to-face meetings with President Joe Biden and his deputy Kamala Harris and ahead of these official meetings met the CEOs of Qualcomm, Adobe, First Solar, General Atomics and Blackstone.

Two of the CEOs were Indian-Americans named Shantanu Narayen from Adobe and Vivek Lall from General Atomics. The other three were Cristiano E Amon from Qualcomm, Mark Widmar from First Solar, and Stephen A Schwarzman from Blackstone.

During his one-to-one meetings with the CEOs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi deliberated on the economic opportunities in India and emphasized saying,

“Will attend the QUAD meeting, and would also interact with leading CEOs to highlight economic opportunities in India.”

Modi’s meeting with the American CEOs from five key areas echoed the policies and priorities of the Indian government.

Meeting with Adobe CEO meant that the IT and digitization of the economy has been the topmost priority of the Indian government.

The meeting with Vivek Lall was significant considering General Atomics as a pioneer in drone technologies and one of the leading manufacturers of state-of-the-art military drones. General Atomics has already provided India with a few drones and is in the process of supplying a significant number of drones for Indian defence. The CEO of General Atomics was born in Indonesia and presently settled in California, for more than 10 years. He has been responsible for finalizing defence deals with American allies and clinched a business of USD 18 billion. The US only allows sharing of advanced defence technologies to its partners. Qualcomm is the global leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technology innovation for more than 30 years and pioneering the ways to 5G connectivity. The meeting with Qualcomm CEO, Cristiano Amon was important in the face of India’s push for the 5G technology adoption and revealed the company’s commitment to fulfilling Narendra Modi’s vision of transforming his country into a digitally empowered society. The San Diego-based company is in the manufacturing of software, semiconductors and services related to wireless technology and has offices in India. Large investments from Qualcomm were expected by the Indian PM.

As India is harnessing solar power for a prosperous rural India and taking huge initiatives in meeting its energy demand from clean and renewable energy, the meeting with Mark Widmar, the CEO of First Solar assumed significance as the company is the leader in providing comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar solutions globally.

The Arizona-based company has already recognized India’s geographic location as most conducive for solar power generation and announced a 3.3 GW of capacity solar plant in India with a USD 684 million project cost.

Blackstone is reputed around the world as a professionally managed investment firm that invests capital on behalf of pension funds, hedge funds, large institutions and individuals. Stephen A. Schwarzman is the Chairman, CEO, and Co-founder of this company and in 2019 has launched the first Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in India with Embassy group and then another two REITs in the country. The company asserted that it would invest another USD 40 billion in India over the next five years.

PM Modi also interacted with the CEOs from the US oil and gas sectors to discuss plans for addressing the country’s growing energy needs.

“It is impossible to come to Houston and not talk energy! Had a wonderful interaction with leading energy sector CEOs. We discussed methods to harness opportunities in the energy sector,” Modi remarked.

The American CEOs appreciated India’s moves in promoting doing business in India and welcomed measures taken by Modi’s government to liberalise the Indian economy including corporate tax structure revision. The CEOs assured their business presence in India and thanked the PM for the support initiatives being undertaken by his government. A complete guide on doing business in India can facilitate business setup in the country for aspiring American companies and investors.

India UK Getting Ready for an Early Harvest Trade Agreement

India and the United Kingdom are aiming to resume negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 1 November 2021 as the two countries agreed for an Early Harvest Agreement by March 2022 that would allow both to establish selective gains in commodities and services. India and UK arrived at this decision soon after a virtual meeting held between the Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his British counterpart, Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss on Monday13 September 2021.

The announcement comes when India has initiated fast-tracking of FTA negotiations with several other countries including the European Union, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and Canada for promoting FDI with the help of a complete guide on doing business in India.

“Proposed FTA between India and the UK is expected to unlock extraordinary business opportunities and generate jobs. Both sides have renewed their commitment to boosting trade in a manner which benefits all,” a statement from the Indian Commerce and Industry Ministry revealed.

Earlier on September 3, Goyal said in an industry event that India was working on multiple FTAs with other democracies who believe in transparent, fair and rule-based investment and trade opportunities as a part of its renewed strategy to move past protectionism, reduce trade deficits and attract foreign investors for company formation in India.

“Substantial work has already been done and extensive stakeholder consultations have been held involving industry/business associations, export promotion councils, buyers/sellers associations, regulatory bodies, ministries/departments, public research bodies, etc,” Indian Commerce and Industry Ministry noted.

Goyal mentioned the formation of bilateral working groups (BWGs) for different tracks to identify and understand the ambitions, interests and sensitivities of each other to accelerate the negotiation progress. Regular meetings were convened amongst the BWGs and most of the work was almost over.

He believed BWG discussions will help both sides in understanding each other’s policy regimes and resume joint scoping discussions from 1st October for finalization of terms of reference and launching of negotiations in November.

“An interim trade agreement, as the first step of an FTA, would allow both of us to immensely benefit from the early gains of the partnership,” Goyal remarked. There is a need to strike a balance between commitments and concessions in goods and services, he emphasized.

There will be a reduction or elimination of tariffs on some selected goods during the interim trade agreement. In services, certain services of mutual interest may be included in the interim agreement. “If necessary, we may also explore signing a few Mutual Recognition Agreements in selective services like nursing and architecture services,” Goyal noted.

The UK Secretary of State for International Trade added, “Today Piyush Goyal and I launched trade working groups to lay the groundwork for our forthcoming UK-India trade deal, which will: boost access to more than a billion consumers; bolster our science and tech industries; and support jobs in both countries.” According to the UK government, regular ministerial dialogues between the two sides will help explore potential areas in the trade agreement encompassing tariffs, standards, Intellectual Property, trade remedy measures and data regulation.

In a bid to expand its market after Brexit, the UK has struck several FTAs and primarily with some of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the Indo-Pacific region. The UK has signed 68 deals and has reached FTAs with Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Australia. A deal with India shall mean the promotion of exports, lowered tariffs, easing of regulations and enhanced bilateral trade.

Increasing UK-India trade has been dubbed a huge opportunity by the UK, given India’s position as one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies and home to more than a billion consumers.

India is one of the key trading partners of the UK and the trade between the two countries stood at USD15.45 billion in 2019-20 and USD13.11 billion in 2020-21 with a trade balance in favour of India.

Data provided by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) revealed that during 2019-2020, India invested in 120 projects and generated 5,429 new jobs in the UK. For the UK, India was the second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2019 just after the US. There are more than 850 Indian companies currently operating in the UK and their combined revenue is almost Euro 41.2 billion, as per the ‘India meets UK” report- 2020 by CII- Grant Thornton.

Clinching an early Harvest deal will be favourable for both India and the UK and provide many benefits for enhancing economic recovery in the post-pandemic era and generate huge enthusiasm and momentum before signing the final FTA.

Newly introduced policies of India namely ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ will be complemented once the FTA negotiations with trading partners come to fruition.

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