UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced their new trade investment with India worth one billion euros. It involves more than £533 million in new Indian investment in the UK, projected to generate 6,000 jobs. According to Downing Street, the new relationship would “pave the way” for a potential UK-India Free Trade Agreement.
“Our people are stronger and safer because of our economic links,” Mr. Johnson said.
The Serum Institute of India will invest £240 million in clinical trials, testing, and likely vaccine manufacturing as part of the contract, which was announced ahead of a virtual meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In collaboration with Codagenix, Serum has begun phase one trials of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus in the United Kingdom.
Health and technology firms Infosys, HCL Technologies, and Mphasis will each create 1,000 new jobs in the UK as a result of Indian investment deals. Also, Q-Rich Creations will generate 667 jobs in the UK, 500 at Wipro, and 465 at 12 Agro.
“Each of the over 6,500 jobs we’ve announced today will help families and communities recover from the coronavirus while also boosting the British and Indian economies,” Mr. Johnson said.
UK-India free trade tip
“The employment will be produced over the next year or so,” Trade Secretary Liz Truss told the BBC.
Those commitments, she said, were very different from a free-trade agreement, which the two governments would begin negotiating this fall. Lowering tariff barriers and new agreements on “digital and data” will be discussed.
She also added that to achieve their set target, they needed to get massive tariffs removed on goods like whiskey, which had a tariff of over 100%, and vehicles, which had a tariff of over 100%.
Ms. Truss added that to do so, the UK would most likely have to relax immigration rules between India and the UK.
“With the post-study work visa, we’ve also taken big strides toward reforming the immigration system. The number of Indian students studying in the UK has increased dramatically.”
In recent years, the United Kingdom has exported more goods to Belgium and Sweden than it has to India. However, the government believes that strengthening relations with one of the world’s most populous and fastest-growing economies could have enormous long-term benefits, especially as tensions with China rise.
However, economists caution that reaching a comprehensive agreement with Delhi that lowers tariffs and non-tariff barriers would be difficult. For example, India is likely to want the UK’s entry visa conditions for its staff and students to be relaxed. Attempts to reach free trade agreements with India through the European Union, Australia, and New Zealand have all failed. However, as the country deals with the economic fallout from the pandemic as well as the growing challenge from China, it might now take a more realistic approach to reach a deal.
Meanwhile, British companies have signed export deals worth more than £446 million with India, which are expected to create more than 400 jobs in the UK. They include a £200 million contract with CMR Surgical, which will result in the creation of 100 new jobs in the UK. The company’s next-generation ‘Versius’ surgical robotic system, which aids surgeons in performing minimal access surgery, will be made available in Indian hospitals.
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Mr. Johnson, who was supposed to visit Delhi, postponed the trip because the city is dealing with the second wave of coronavirus cases, which has widely spread across the state. The tour, which was originally scheduled for January, was intended to strengthen relations between the two countries.
It was postponed due to a spike in Covid infections in the UK over the winter. A four-day trip was planned for April, but it was cut short to just one day in Delhi and then postponed indefinitely last month, with India being added to the UK’s travel “red list” as a result.
Delhi authorities requested the army’s assistance on Monday. The government is seeking Covid care services and intensive care units. Since the epidemic began, the number of cases in India has surpassed 20 million.
The British Asian Trust has raised more than £1.6 million in the last week via an emergency appeal in response to the coronavirus outbreak in India.
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