• Tuesday, May 17, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Britain finalises trade and investment deals worth £1bn with India

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with new British prime minister Boris Johnson (Photo: PTI).

By: Pramod Thomas

THE British government has finalised trade and investment deals worth £1 billion with India, creating over 6,500 jobs in UK, the Downing Street said on Monday (3) evening.

The virtual summit between UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will take place on Tuesday (4).

The investments is part of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which the two leaders will formally sign off during their talks, a statement said.

The partnership will set the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs we have announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies,” said Johnson.

“In the decade ahead, with the help of (the) new partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs.”

The investment includes over £533 million of new Indian investment into the UK, covering areas such as healthcare and technology.

As part of this, Serum Institute of India (SII) will invest £240m in the UK into its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, expected to generate new business worth over £1 billion.

It will support clinical trials, research and development and ‘possibly’ manufacturing of vaccines, to help the UK and the world defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases, the Downing Street said.

Last week, Johnson spoke to Indian business leaders from Infosys and HCL and the software majors are among the Indian firms listed as part of a series of investment deals, set to create 1,000 jobs each in the UK.

Some of the others on the list include biotech firm Global Gene Corp, TVS Motors and Goila Butter Chicken.

The UK companies clinching export deals with India include Morningside Pharmaceuticals with an R&D pact, Kloudpad with a data centres deal, BP in a partnership with Infosys and GoZero Mobility with an e-bicycles deal.

British businesses have also secured new export deals with India worth more than £446m, which is expected to create more than 400 British jobs.

This includes CMR Surgical exporting its next-generation “Versius” surgical robotic system, which helps surgeons perform minimal access surgery being rolled out to hospitals in India. This export deal is worth £200 million and will result in the creation of 100 new jobs in the UK.

According to a statement, non-tariff barriers on fruit and medical devices will be lowered, allowing British businesses to export more of their products to India and boosting UK growth and jobs.

“A future UK-India trade deal will support hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost the economies of both the UK and India by potentially lowering or removing current tariffs such as those of up to 150 per cent on whisky and up to 125 per cent on automotives as well as on other British products,” the Downing Street said.

The trade barriers addressed in the new deal include lifting restrictions to enable fruit producers across the UK to export British apples, pears and quince to India for the first time and improved access for medical devices through the acceptance of UK Certificates of Free Sale in India.

Besides, it will deepen cooperation in educational services and concluding work on the recognition of UK higher education qualifications, which will encourage an increase in student flows, skills transfer and knowledge sharing between the UK and India.

According to official statistics, trade between the UK and India is already worth around £23bn a year, supporting more than half a million jobs.

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