Paving the way for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement and setting the ambition of more than doubling bilateral trade from the current level of GBP 23 billion by 2030.Britain has finalised £1 billion worth of new trade and investment with India,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson had substantive discussions today on the entire gamut of bilateral ties and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest during the India UK Virtual Summit.
Briefing media in virtual mode after the meeting, Joint Secretary, Europe West, Sandeep Chakravorty said, the first big deliverable of the meeting was the launch of Roadmap 2030.
An ambitious ‘Roadmap 2030’ was adopted at the Summit to elevate bilateral ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’. The Roadmap will pave the way for a deeper and stronger engagement over the next ten years in the key areas of people to people contacts, trade and economy, defence and security, climate action and health.
The two leaders discussed the Covid19 situation and ongoing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including the successful partnership on vaccines. Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Johnson for the prompt medical assistance provided by the UK in the wake of the severe second wave of Covid19 in India. Prime Minister Johnson appreciated India’s role in extending assistance to the UK and other countries over the last year, including by way of supply of pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
The two Prime Ministers launched an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP) to unleash the trade potential between the 5th and 6th largest economies of the world and by setting an ambitious target of more than doubling bilateral trade by 2030. As part of the ETP, India and the UK agreed on a roadmap to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA, including consideration of an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains. The enhanced trade partnership between India and UK will generate several thousands of direct and indirect jobs in both the countries.
The UK is India’s second largest partner in research and innovation collaborations. A new India-UK ‘Global Innovation Partnership’ was announced at the Virtual Summit that aims to support the transfer of inclusive Indian innovations to select developing countries, starting with Africa. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation on new and emerging technologies, including Digital and ICT products, and work on supply chain resilience. They also agreed to strengthen defence and security ties, including in the maritime, counter-terrorism and cyberspace domains.
Both Prime Ministers also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, including cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, and G7. They reiterated commitment to climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and agreed to closely engage in the run up to CoP26 hosted by the UK later this year.
India and the UK launched a comprehensive partnership on migration and mobility that will facilitate greater opportunities for the mobility of students and professionals between the two countries.
The Prime Minister expressed his desire to be able to welcome Prime Minister Johnson in India as per his convenience after the situation stabilizes. Prime Minister Johnson also reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit UK for the G-7 Summi.
“As leaders in tech and innovation, this enhanced partnership will unlock opportunities for businesses, boost job creation and growth across the country,” he said.
The trade and investment package unveiled by Britain contains over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment into the UK, covering areas such as healthcare and technology.
This includes a 240 million pounds investment by the Serum Institute of India in the UK into its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, expected to generate new business worth over $1 billion.
Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research & development and “possibly” manufacturing of vaccines, to help the UK and the world defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases, Downing Street said.
British businesses have also secured new export deals with India worth more than 446 million pounds, 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 pounds and will result in the creation of 100 new jobs in the UK.
“With almost 1.4 billion people, India’s population is bigger than the EU and US combined and by far the largest market the UK has committed to negotiating a trade deal with to date,” Downing Street said.
The ETP agreed between India and the UK is said to create immediate opportunities for British businesses in India across industries including food and drink, life sciences and the service sector.
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.
U.K.-India declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Both leaders also commits both sides to addressing immediate market access barriers as well as continuing to seek further opportunities on the road to an FTA.
“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.
“It would also create huge benefits for British services – four out five of India’s fastest growing imports are for services like IP and telecommunications,” Downing Street said.
The trade barriers addressed by the ETP 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, removing the requirement for additional accreditation of UK medical devices when exporting to the Indian market before they can be sold.
There is also a commitment to deepening 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.
It has also been agreed by both sides to work on removing barriers in the Indian legal services sector preventing UK lawyers from practising international and foreign law in India, a step that Downing Street could “significantly increase” UK legal services exports and UK legal services imports from India.
According to official statistics, trade between the UK and India is already worth around 23 billion pounds a year, supporting more than half a million jobs.
Both leaders emphasised their shared commitment to an enhanced partnership in science, education, research and innovation and look forward to the next ministerial Science and Innovation Council (SIC). They welcomed the signing of the new India-UK MoU on Telecommunications/ICT and the Joint Declaration of Intent on Digital and Technology, the establishment of new high-level dialogues on tech, new joint rapid research investment into Covid19, a new partnership to support zoonotic research, new investment to advance understanding of weather and climate science, and the continuation of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
Both Prime Ministers agreed to deepen their defence and security cooperation through the India-UK Defence and International Security Partnership framework and welcomed the finalisation of the new logistics MoU. They agreed to increase maritime co-operation, inviting the UK’s Liaison Officer to India’s Information Fusion Centre, establishing an annual India-UK Maritime Dialogue and strengthening operational coordination. During the deployment of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean Region in 2021, they agreed to hold joint exercises that will deepen cooperation in a region of critical strategic importance to both countries.
They agreed that there is a promising new era ahead for India-UK collaboration on key military technologies including combat aircraft, maritime propulsion system and complex weapons, harnessing the strengths of Indian and British industries, government laboratories and academia to help deliver the next generation of defence and security capabilities through co-development and co-production. MEA PIB Media agencies