TheCityUK hails launch of UK-India trade negotiations

The UK and India have launched negotiations to agree a UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Commenting on the news, Miles Celic, Chief Executive Officer, TheCityUK, said,

The launch of trade negotiations with India presents a huge opportunity to supercharge trade and investment with one of the world’s most important economic powerhouses.

“As both the UK and Indian economies are driven by exciting and innovative services industries, any trade agreement should reflect this and strive to deliver stronger two-way investment and trade in services. It is also an opportunity to break new ground for cross-border services issues and show real ambition to improve global services trade.

“The industry is committed to supporting the process, including through our work on the India-UK Financial Partnership, which seeks to deliver practical recommendations for deepening linkages between the financial sectors in India and the UK, increasing trade and investment flows, and supporting policy reform.”

Key UK-industry asks for any further UK/India FTA include:

  • Commitments to systematic UK-India financial regulatory cooperation that encourages greater financial regulatory alignment between the two markets;
  • Enabling greater UK-Indian digital trade, including through the prevention of cross-border data flow restrictions;
  • Securing recognition for UK professional qualifications in India;
  • Making it easier for UK professionals to work in India for both short and longer term business purposes and vice versa;
  • Securing strong investment protection provisions for UK businesses operating in India so as to encourage UK businesses to explore and commit to growth opportunities; and
  • Liberalising public procurement markets in services and shaping a level playing field for UK businesses operating in India.

India is currently the world’s sixth-largest economy but ranks only 30th as an export destination for UK financial services exports as of 2020. UK services exports to India amounted to almost £3.8bn in 2020, with financial services making up £296m of that total. This compares to UK financial services exports to Japan, which hovered around £3bn in the same year (more than ten times its financial services export to India). With a population of 1.4bn in 2020 – more than a tenth of whom have English as a second language – and projections of rapid economic growth over the coming decades, India is a vast potential market with which the UK can partner to deliver shared prosperity.