LONDON: The UK and Indian governments will announce their first enhanced trade partnership on Tuesday as a precursor to a free trade agreement when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian PM Narendra Modi hold a virtual meeting.
A billion pounds (Rs 10,000 crore) in new UK-India trade and investment will also be announced. This will include an investment of £240 million (Rs 2,400 crore) by the Serum Institute of India in the UK to support clinical trials, research and development and “possibly manufacturing of vaccines” in Britain, Downing Street said. SII has already started phase one trials in the UK of a nasal vaccine against Covid-19 in partnership with US biotech Codagenix Inc.
Serum will also open a new sales office in the UK that is expected to generate new business worth over $1 billion. In total there will be £533 million (Rs 5,400 crore) in new Indian investment in the UK, creating around 6,500 jobs. This includes the creation of 1,000 jobs in the UK by the likes of Infosys and HCL Technologies and new export deals with India worth more than £446 million (Rs 4,500 crore). These include BP decarbonising Infosys’ campuses across India, a deal for e-bicycles, and CMR Surgical exporting a surgical robotic system to help Indian surgeons perform minimal access surgery.
The enhanced trade partnership will lift restrictions on the export of British fruit and medical devices to India and enable the recognition of UK higher education qualifications in India as well as include “a commitment to work to remove barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international law in India”. It will also declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive FTA which could lower or remove tariffs on British products such as whisky.
“In the decade ahead we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs,” Johnson said.