UK PM announces new £1 bn trade deal with India


UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced new UK-India trade and investment worth £1 billion, including an investment of £240 million by the Serum Institute of India (SII) for its vaccine business in Britain, ahead of a virtual summit with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

The virtual summit on Tuesday will witness the roll-out of a new “Enhanced Trade Partnership” that is expected to pave the way for a future free trade agreement. More than 6,500 new jobs are expected to be created in the UK by the new bilateral trade and investment announced by Johnson.

The package contains new Indian investments of more than £533 million that is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital sectors such as health and technology. Deals worth £200 million will support low carbon growth.

The investments include £240 million to be pumped in by SII for its vaccine business in Britain, and a new sales office that is expected to create a “large number of jobs”, the UK Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement. SII’s sales office is expected to generate new business worth more than $1 billion, £200 million of which will be invested into the UK.

SII’s investment will also support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. This will help the UK and the world to defeat the pandemic and other deadly diseases. SII has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for the coronavirus in partnership with Codagenix INC.

British businesses have secured new export deals with India worth more than £446 million, which are 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, to Indian hospitals under a deal worth £200 million.

The new Enhanced Trade Partnership to be unveiled by Modi and Johnson on Tuesday will address several trade barriers, including the lifting of restrictions to enable fruit producers across the UK to export apples, pears and quince to India for the first time.

It will also secure improved access for medical devices through the acceptance of “UK Certificates of Free Sale” in India, thus removing the requirement of additional accreditation of British medical devices exported to the Indian market.

The partnership also envisages deepening cooperation in educational services and concluding work on recognition of UK higher education qualifications, which will encourage an increase in student flows, skills transfer and knowledge-sharing between the UK and India.

The partnership will also commit the two sides to work to remove barriers in the Indian legal services sector that prevent British lawyers from practising international and foreign law in India, a step that can significantly increase UK legal services exports and imports from India.

A future free trade deal will boost the economies of both countries by “potentially lowering or removing current tariffs such as those of up to 150% on whisky and up to 125% on automotives as well as on other British products”, the statement said.

Johnson said: “Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer…In the decade ahead, with the help of new partnership signed [on Tuesday] 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.”

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