Virtual summit of Indian, UK's PMs brings GBP 1 billion worth of deals, enhanced trade partnership

Virtual summit of Indian, UK's PMs brings GBP 1 billion worth of deals, enhanced trade partnership

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 4

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The British government has finalised GBP 1 billion worth of trade and investment with India, creating over 6,500 jobs in Britain, ahead of the virtual summit between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

The investments confirmed by Downing Street on Monday evening form part of an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which the two leaders will formally sign off during their talks.

The ETP 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).

"Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer," said Johnson.

"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. 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," he said.

The trade and investment package unveiled by the British government contains over GBP 533 million of new Indian investment into the UK, covering areas such as healthcare and technology.

This includes a GBP 240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the UK into its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, expected to generate new business worth over USD 1 billion.

Serum Institute's investment 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, Downing Street said.

British businesses have also secured new export deals with India worth more than GBP 446 million, 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 GBP 200 million 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.

It also commits both sides to addressing immediate market access barriers as well as continuing to seek further opportunities on the road to an FTA.

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