Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson are expected to unveil a strengthened trade partnership to deepen bilateral cooperation at their virtual summit on Tuesday, as part of London’s post-Brexit effort to secure new trade deals around the world.
The partnership includes reduced trade barriers and better market access for certain UK products such as fruit and medical devices. The partnership is also described by the British side as a precursor of a possible free trade agreement.
Ahead of the virtual summit, Johnson announced a $ 1 billion set of trade and investment deals with India, including a $ 240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,500 jobs.
This virtual summit should also lead to a deeper relationship in the areas of health, climate action and defense.
Trade barriers addressed by the enhanced trade partnership include lifting restrictions to allow UK fruit growers to export their produce to India for the first time, and improved access for medical devices through the acceptance of UK certificates of free sale in India. , thus removing the need for additional accreditation of British medical devices exported to India.
As part of the partnership, the two sides will also pledge to remove barriers in India’s legal services sector that prevent UK lawyers from practicing international and foreign law in India, a statement from the UK Prime Minister’s Office said. . This could significantly increase UK legal services exports and UK legal services imports from India.
The two sides will also work to deepen cooperation in education services and conclude work on the recognition of higher education qualifications in the UK, which is expected to encourage increased student flows, skills transfer and knowledge sharing between the two parties.
However, experts believe that the Indian side is in no rush to sign new free trade agreements, especially at a time when the Indian government is pushing its Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat (Autonomous India) initiatives. Some Western countries have expressed concerns about these initiatives limiting access to the Indian market.
Johnsons summit with his Indian counterpart is part of the UK government’s pivot to the Indo-Pacific and efforts to secure more trade deals around the world after the UK exits the European Union (EU) . Britain has so far concluded trade deals with Japan and Singapore.
The new trade and investment deals announced by Johnson include new Indian investments of more than 533 million euros in the UK that are expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital sectors such as health and technology, and deals worth $ 200 million will support low-carbon growth.
British companies have signed new export deals with India worth more than 446 million euros. This includes CMR Surgical exporting its next-generation Versius surgical robotic system that helps surgeons perform minimal access surgery in a deal worth € 200 million.
Annual trade between India and the UK is currently around $ 23 billion. Over 800 Indian companies are present in the UK, which they used as a base to access EU markets.
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