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Japan Did The Same And Look Where That Got Them.

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Japan was handed an ideal opportunity, the opportunity to open its doors to free trade.

We went first, permitting them to trade openly in the UK, with cars, construction, banking. The double crossed us, kept their door firmly closed. They then suffered as a result.

I have been feeling that both China, and India are going the same way.

Britain blocked on their passage to India

WHEN David Cameron and George Osborne tour India next week, the Conservative duo will be hard-pressed to resist making the point that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has not, in nine years in the job, visited what his own Government deems the most promising overseas prospect for British goods and services. Gordon Brown has been a vocal champion of investment in India, but he has not been there. But once that piquant point is made, the challenge for both men is to address the political gridlock in Delhi, and not London.

The incursion of British business into India has, in recent years, been timid. The world’s largest democracy has been growing at roughly 8 per cent, swelling the ranks of middle- class consumers. Still, India got just one half of 1 per cent of the UK’s total foreign direct investment in 2004. Just less than 1 per cent of UK exports are to India (population 1.1 billion) with 4.5 per cent to Belgium (population 10 million). Meanwhile, the UK has become India’s biggest market in Europe for IT services. India has leapt up the league table of international investors in the UK to third place last year.

Neither the British Government nor British business is chiefly to blame for the increasingly lop-sided UK-India economic relationship. No doubt trade promotion could improve, but the UK Trade and Investment office has, at Mr Brown’s instruction, expanded across nine offices in India. Where the opportunities exist, British businesses are exploiting them — Mr Cameron will open a new JCB plant in Pune on Monday.

The problem is that the door to the Indian market is only ajar. The sectors where the British could compete in India — and help to modernise and enrich the Indian economy by bringing competition and best practice — are precisely the ones that are effectively blocked to foreigners. They include insurance, legal services and banking.

The nation of shopkeepers finds itself unable to sell to the largest market of English- language shoppers. Foreign direct investment in retailing is severely restricted. This constrains British business, but, more importantly, hurts Indians. Two thirds of people live in rural areas and more than three quarters of them are subsistence farmers who cannot make a proper living. A third of produce rots before it can be sold. There are, therefore, great opportunities in logistics and retail — businesses in which Britain has some expertise. But the chief obstacle to that is India’s industrial oligarchy, which seeks to build its own retail empire and ensures that the politicians in Delhi maintain the trade barriers to protect them. The irony is that India has succeeded most conspicuously in the area where the internet has removed all barriers to entry: IT.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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