UK and India declare common intention to start working towards a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA).

Britain has finalized £ 1 billion in new trade and investment with India, creating more than 6,500 jobs in the UK, which will be signed on Tuesday at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his counterpart Indian Narendra Modi.

The investments confirmed by Downing Street on Monday evening are part of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which will set the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declare a common intention to start working towards a comprehensive free trade agreement. (FTA).

“Like all aspects of UK-India relations, the economic ties between our countries make our people stronger and more secure,” Johnson said.

“Each of the more than 6,500 jobs we announced today will help families and communities recover from the coronavirus and boost the UK and Indian economies. In the coming decade, with the help of [the] new partnership signed today and comprehensive free trade agreement, we will double the value of our trade partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new heights, ”he said.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) chairman and British Indian entrepreneur Lord Karan Bilimoria said the enhanced business partnership ushered in a new era of UK-India relations.

“It shows the world how strong our relationship is,” Bilimoria said.

“Pave the way for a future UK-India free trade agreement and set the ambition to more than double bilateral trade from the current level of £ 23 billion by 2030. In As leaders in technology and innovation, this strengthened partnership will open up opportunities for businesses to drive job creation and growth across the country, ”he said.

Britain’s unveiled trade and investment package contains more than £ 533million in new Indian investment in the UK, spanning areas such as healthcare and technology. This includes a £ 240million investment by the Serum Institute of India in the UK in its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, which is expected to generate new business worth more than a billion dollars.

Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research and development, and ‘eventually’ vaccine manufacturing, to help the UK and the world beat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases, Downing Street said . UK companies have also signed new export deals with India worth over £ 446million, which are expected to create over 400 UK jobs. This includes CMR Surgical which exports its next generation “Versius” surgical robotic system, which helps surgeons perform minimal access surgeries deployed in hospitals in India. The export deal is worth £ 200million and will result in the creation of 100 new jobs in the UK.

“With nearly 1.4 billion people, India’s population is larger than the EU and US combined and by far the largest market the UK is committed to negotiating with a trade deal to date, ”Downing Street said.

The India-UK ETP would create immediate opportunities for UK businesses in India in sectors such as food and drink, life sciences and the service sector. Non-tariff barriers on fruits and medical devices will be lowered, allowing UK companies to export more of their products to India and boost growth and jobs in the UK. It also urges both sides to remove immediate barriers to market access and to continue to seek new opportunities on the path to an FTA.

“A future UK-India trade deal will support hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost the economies of UK and India by potentially lowering or eliminating current tariffs, such as 150% on whiskey and 125% on whiskey. automobiles as well as other British products. It would also create huge benefits for UK services – four out of five of India’s fastest growing imports are in services like IP and telecommunications, ”Downing Street said.

Trade barriers addressed by ETP include lifting restrictions to allow UK fruit growers to export UK apples, pears and quinces to India for the first time and better access for medical devices through the acceptance of UK certificates of free sale in India, removing the requirement for further accreditation of UK medical devices when exporting to the Indian market before they can be sold.

There is also a commitment to deepen cooperation in education services and to conclude work on the recognition of higher education qualifications in the UK, which will encourage increased student flows, skills transfer and knowledge sharing between UK and India.

It was also agreed by both sides to work on breaking down barriers in India’s legal services sector preventing UK lawyers from practicing international and foreign law in India, a move Downing Street could “dramatically increase” exports. legal services in the UK and imports of legal services in the UK. from India.

According to official statistics, trade between the UK and India is already worth around £ 23 billion a year, supporting more than half a million jobs. Johnson spoke to Indian business leaders at Infosys and HCL last week, and the software majors are among the Indian companies listed in a series of investment deals, which are expected to create 1 000 jobs each in the UK. Others on the list include biotech company Global Gene Corp, TVS Motors, and Goila Butter Chicken.

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