The UK Government, which continues to push forward with international trade agreements, has announced significant advances in securing a free trade deal with India.
Secretary of State Liz Truss shared the news as she concluded a 5-day visit to the country aimed at securing an enhanced trading relationship with the world’s largest democracy and confirming a number of investment wins that will create UK jobs.
As part of the visit the International Trade Secretary agreed an outline for a new enhanced UK and India Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), a landmark moment on the road to a future Free Trade Agreement.
Business leader Dr Maurizio Bragagni MBA, one of the Department for International Trade’s independent advisors, was among the first to congratulate Ms Truss on this important gain.
He said: “The Secretary of State has achieved a spectacular result for UK trade and the British economy. By agreeing terms of the Enhanced Trade Partnership she and her team has laid out the foundations for a potential future free trade agreement with a one of our most important international partners. Added to the very welcome news about international investment in UK industry and the jobs they will create, it is fair to say Ms Truss’ trip has performed on every level.”
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Her trip brought home a major investment by leading technology and digital firm Tata Consultancy Services, a deal that will create 1,500 high-skilled jobs at sites all over the UK.
Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant Wockhardt also confirmed further investment in Wrexham, Wales, leading to more than 40 new jobs and the extension of its Covid-19 vaccination contract ensuring the UK has uninterrupted fill and finish capacity for vaccines in 2022.
India is the fastest growing major economy in the world, with longstanding ties to the UK and a potential market of 1.4 billion people.
On Saturday Ms Truss agreed the outline of a new Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, as part of a process leading to a potential comprehensive FTA, including considerations on an Interim Agreement.
It is an important part of the government’s plan to deepen links with major economies of the present and future beyond Europe, creating more trade and investment in strategic industries like science, tech and services that will help the UK build back better, greener and stronger from coronavirus.
Throughout the global pandemic India and the UK have supported each other – keeping vital supply chains open, tackling protectionism and collaborating on vaccine research – whether that be the production of more than a billion doses of life-saving Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at India’s Serum institute or unlocking the export of nearly three million packets of paracetamol.
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:
“India is the world’s biggest democracy and a nation that shares our belief in free enterprise. Deeper trading ties will create opportunities for UK businesses that were simply not there as part of the EU – and set the stage for a much closer partnership with one of the economic powerhouses of the present and future.
“We will be collaborating much more closely in the industries of tomorrow, industries like science, tech and green growth, so we can build back better and deliver an export-led, investment-led, jobs-led recovery from coronavirus.”
The UK-India trade relationship, worth £23 billion in 2019, supports key industries such as technology and life sciences and around half a million jobs in each other’s economies.
Life Sciences has been a priority sector for both nations, with UK pharmaceuticals exports to India growing by 21.4% to £96.75m in 2019. During her visit, the Secretary of State met with UK respiratory digital health company, Smart Respiratory Products, which is helping doctors in India manage their patients remotely via a smartphone app and telemedicine platform.
The firm recently secured a £5m partnership with Indian company, Care Ability Healthcare, to supply their Smart Asthma respiratory solutions.
Demonstrating the strength of the UK tech and life sciences sector, AI healthcare start-up Behold.AI announced during the visit that it has partnered with India’s Apollo Group to provide a diagnostic tool which can quickly analyse chest x-rays to aid in screening COVID-19 positive patients.
And UK firm Micropore, which specialises in equipment and support services to enable pharma companies to improve the performance and economies of their formulated products is setting up in Hyderabad, India to supply its award-winning membrane emulsification technology to its customers in the region and neighbouring markets.
• The UK and India are significant investors and markets for each other’s economies and in 2019-20, the UK was the largest European market for India’s goods exports. This partnership is creating jobs and opportunities for UK firms in areas such as renewable energy and electric vehicles, as our countries work together to reduce global emissions ahead of next year’s COP26 Summit in Glasgow
• In 2020, the UK laid the foundations for a return as an independent trading nation by negotiating agreements covering 64 countries plus the EU, that account for £889bn of UK bilateral trade. The UK Government has also formally applied to join one of the world’s largest free-trade areas, CPTPP, while discussions are ongoing with New Zealand, Australia and the US.
• Total trade in goods and services (i.e. exports plus imports) between the UK and India was £19.4bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020. Of this £19.4bn:
o Total UK exports to India amounted to £6.9bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020
o Total UK imports from India amounted to £12.5bn in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2020
• The outward stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK in India was £15.3bn in 2019, accounting for 1.0% of the total UK outward FDI stock.
• The inward stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UK from India was £9.5bn in 2019, accounting for 0.6% of the total UK inward FDI stock.