UK PM May says no meeting planned with Tata bosses during India trip
British Prime Minister Theresa May won`t meet any executives from Tata Steel Ltd during her two-day trip to India but talks about the future of its British steel operations are still going on, she said.
In March, Tata Steel put its British steel operations on sale following heavy losses linked to a flood of cheap Chinese imports and low demand in the region. The process was suspended in July because of uncertainty following the June Brexit vote.
The company has since said it is exploring opportunities for a partnership for its entire European steel business, and Germany`s biggest steelmaker Thyssenkrupp has said it is in talks with Tata.
"I had hoped to be able to meet the key people from Tata while I was in India, sadly the schedules don`t allow for me to do that on this particular visit but there are regular contacts between the government and Tata Steel," May told reporters on the plane to India on Sunday, her first bilateral visit outside the EU since she took office in July.
"There continue to be those regular contacts to ensure that we maintain, as has been maintained so far, that steel production in the UK."
Tata`s former chairman Cyrus Mistry, who was ousted in a boardroom coup last month, is due to take part in a CEO forum with May during her visit.
Britain already has a good visa system with India, Prime Minister Theresa May said late on Sunday as she arrived in the country for her first bilateral trip outside of the European Union since June`s Brexit vote.
May has said she plans to use the two-day visit to try to reduce barriers to trade with India and pave the way for a post-Brexit free-trade deal, but with the Indian government keen to secure more access to
Britain for students and skilled workers, visa numbers are likely to be a sticking point in any talks.
Immigration was central to the debate ahead of Britain`s June 23 vote to leave the EU, and May has vowed to stick to a pledge made by her predecessor David Cameron to bring annual net migration below 100,000 from more than three times that.
Asked by a reporter whether, in return for a trade deal, the government would consider a visa system more sympathetic to Indians, May said Britain already issued more work visas to Indian nationals than to those from China, Australia and the United States combined.
"We have a visa system for countries outside the European Union which ensures the brightest and the best are able to come to the United Kingdom," she said. "We have, I believe, a good system. We will be talking about trade here."
Britain plans to offer new services to improve business travel for Indian visitors, including faster clearance through UK border controls, but an aide to May said this was about speeding up the process rather than boosting numbers.
"As we leave the EU, we want to ensure that the United Kingdom remains one of the most attractive countries in the world to do business and invest," May said in a statement.