India and the UK on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious 10-year ‘Comprehensive Roadmap 2030’ to further deepen and broadbase bilateral ties between the two nations in a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson. The roadmap envisages a new Enhanced Trade Partnership for re-energised trade, investment and technological collaboration paving the way for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement.
In a bid to boost bilateral trade and investment and unlock the potential for the relationship from the private sectors of both countries, India and UK launched an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) to pave the way for negotiating a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
India and the UK will work towards finalising the pre-negotiation phase for FTA by the end of 2021. This will resolve market access issues, boost exports and strengthen the trade partnership across a comprehensive range of areas. India and Britain would start negotiations ‘in the autumn’, following the announcement of a preliminary ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ deal.
An important part of the ETP is the £1 billion in new UK-India trade and investment, including in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology which sets the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030.
According to the roadmap, India and the UK will move towards removing barriers to trade through a balanced and beneficial market access package under the ETP, including on agriculture, healthcare, education, healthcare and social security among others.
At the same time, there will be room for continued cooperation under the Joint Working Group on Trade towards reducing/removing market access barriers faced by Indian businesses in the UK and UK businesses in India.
The roadmap promises the early conclusion of a new and refreshed UK-India ‘Ease of Doing Business MoU’ through which the two countries will share experience on regulatory reform, tax administration, and trade facilitation and standards. As part of the ETP, UK companies will be encouraged to invest in India’s manufacturing sector taking advantage of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme, including in electronics, telecommunication equipment, automotive and pharmaceuticals manufacturing. Indian companies would be encouraged to raise finance in the London market, including through listings and bond issuance, drawing on the success of the masala bond market.
There is also an agreement to implement the new annual India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue to share expertise, experiences and deepen collaboration between our financial sectors by July 2021 and deepen cooperation on infrastructure through the new UK-India Partnership on Infrastructure Financing and Policy, to support India’s ambitious plans for delivering inclusive, resilient and sustainable infrastructure under the National Infrastructure Pipeline.