By Aditi Khanna
London, May 4 (PTI) Industry groups in the UK and India welcomed the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) agreed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson during a virtual summit on Tuesday.
The ETP covers around 1-billion pounds worth of UK-India trade and investment with the potential of creating 6,500 jobs in Britain and delivering growth across both countries.
As part of the ambition set out within a ‘2030 Roadmap’, the two sides have agreed a goal to double bilateral trade from the current level of 23 billion pounds a year over the next decade and have also agreed to begin negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) later this year.
"Indian Industry welcomes the 2030 Roadmap, as announced by the two Prime Ministers, that lays out a roadmap to greater cooperation between the two countries across business, economics, strategic relations and looks ahead to the next decade, which will be critical in the growth, recovery in the post pandemic period," said Gregory Rivers, Chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) UK-India Business Forum and Head of Government Affairs at Infosys.
"The roadmap sets the right tone for a Free Trade Agreement between India and UK, a much needed and long-standing aspiration of the two countries," he said, adding that the CII is hopeful that key barriers to trade and commerce will be addressed by the ETP, allowing for a favourable ecosystem for Indian businesses to expand and grow in the UK.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was equally positive about the ETP and the flurry of private sector investment announcements that came with it, including Serum Institute of India’s UK expansion plans with a new sales office.
"It is heartening to see the announcement of more than 533 million pounds by Indian private sector that will create over 6,000 jobs and investments in sectors like healthcare, technology will help build better economic links between the two countries,” said Baroness Usha Prashar, Chair of the FICCI UK Council.
"Announcement of deals worth 200 pounds million to support low carbon growth demonstrates the commitment to sustainable economic growth. FICCI’s report ‘ASCENT: The New Horizon of Trade Relations’ highlighted that with a robust economic foundation based on job creation and shared prosperity, trade and investment between the UK and India has the potential to increase to 50 billion pounds," she said.
FICCI President Uday Shankar highlighted the elevation of bilateral ties to a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" by India – the first European country to be granted that status.
"The announcement about the discussions on the full Free Trade Agreement starting as early as autumn this year is also very encouraging for businesses from both the countries,” he said.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) was equally upbeat about the latest ETP, which it expressed confidence would pave the way for an FTA in the future.
"As leaders in tech and innovation this enhanced partnership will unlock opportunities for businesses, boost job creation and growth across the country," said Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI President and Cobra Beer founder.
The British Indian entrepreneur also renewed an appeal for businesses to support India through its devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Through joint efforts and collaborations we’ve seen the best from our two nations in the fight against COVID. As India battles with a devastating outbreak we’ll need that same spirit and solidarity to overcome this wave. I urge any businesses that can help supply vital medical equipment and support to get in touch with the CBI,” he said. PTI AK ZH