UK-India groups join forces over trade

The two largest business organisations in India and the UK are to set up a new group to campaign for increased cross-industry collaboration and to "push the UK-India trade deal over the line".

uk and india trade

Delhi, India. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is greeted a Hyderabad House by Prime Minister Modi. Picture by Lakshay Saga

The new organisation, the UK-India Industry Taskforce, is being established by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Together, they represent more than 300,000 businesses.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI president, said a free trade agreement between the two nations was "now within touching distance" and that it was essential the deal concentrated on lowering barriers to trade.

UK and India set to agree on free trade deal

“For example, on renewables, we have an opportunity to export UK’s expertise in clean tech. A deal has the potential to drastically lower tariffs on wind turbines parts that are currently as high as 15%," he said.

“More broadly, a deal anchored in slashing tariffs, improving the ability to move talent across borders as well as data, will unlock plenty of prizes across a host of sectors from services and life sciences to tech and innovation.

“I look forward to working with CII on this new taskforce to strengthen our ties across trade, investment, climate and health as our countries recover from the twin shock of Covid and the Ukraine crisis.”Last month, the prime ministers of both countries agreed an FTA should be concluded by the end of this year, with Boris Johnson suggesting it could be as early as October.

The CBI said that the UK’s world-leading renewable sector could play an integral role in India’s transition to clean energy. "Reducing tariffs on green exports such as solar, onshore, and offshore wind, could open new opportunities for firms in India."

The new partnership is designed to continue the long standing relationship between both companies

In a statement, the CBI added: "More broadly, securing a free trade agreement with India could almost double UK exports to India; boost Britain’s total trade by as much as £28 billion a year by 2035; and increase wages across the UK regions by £3 billion."

As part of a Memorandum in Understanding between the CBI and CII, the new campaign group will provide a critical forum for discussion to ensure an FTA works to the benefit of businesses in both countries.

Chandrajit Banerjee, director-general of the CII, commented: “The Memorandum of Understanding we sign today is the continuation of the long standing relationship between CII and CBI. This partnership is an opportunity to address shared concerns, identify common interests and foster greater understanding and to develop capacity to address the issues of economic and global concerns.

“The collaboration between CII and CBI will cover joint efforts in specific areas such as advancing technology and digitalisation, climate change and sustainability, multilateral collaboration, alignment on FTA and education.

"As we build upon this renewed partnership today, we are eager and excited to be working together with a  focused approach.”

Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said he was "delighted" the two nations' leading business organisations were deepening collaboration on sustainability, education and technology.
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