By Barnie Choudhury
ON the eve of the UK choosing a new prime minister, the chair of the India Business Group, Lord Patel, has said that trade between India and Britain has never been more important.
The fight for the country’s highest political office is being decided by Conservative party members, with the current prime minister, Theresa May, leaving Number 10 this week.
The new leader’s biggest task is to get Britain out of the European Union with a Brexit deal that his party supports. He will also be looking for other trading partners post-Brexit.
Lord Patel believes greater trade links with India is an obvious place to start.
“We share common laws, a common language and common culture,” he said.
“Our two great nations have been linked for centuries, and with Brexit, the UK knows it has to reach out to its friends to secure business. The new prime minister has to understand the importance of such a long-standing and fruitful relationship, especially when he has such a massive Indian diaspora right on his doorstep.”
Lord Patel, a senior independent director for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), saw for himself how the two nations battled in the recent cricket tournament. The ECB was one of the partners for this year’s inaugural IBG (India Business Group) India-UK trade summit and awards.
“I am in no doubt that our love of cricket helps cement our love of doing trade together,” he said.
“The IPL (Indian Premier League) has shown how important cricket is in creating enterprise and entrepreneurs. Can you imagine the next time England tour India, prime minister (Narendra Modi) announcing an India-UK trade deal post-Brexit? That would be simply fantastic?
According to Grant Thornton, a global independent firm of tax auditors, 842 Indian companies currently operate in the UK. The number has grown despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit, and their combined turnover is worth £48 billion.
The company’s India meets Britain Tracker 2019 report revealed these firms added £684 million to the UK economy in corporation tax, and they employ almost 105,000 workers.
Lord Patel said, “These incredible statistics only go to show how important the relationship is between India and Britain.
“We are living in uncertain times, and our continued business links will help to not only enhance wealth but enhance cultural harmony and world peace.”
Research carried out by the Commonwealth suggests that when two member states do business with one another, trade is almost 20 per cent cheaper be-cause of their shared history and common laws.