UK trade secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is meeting with India’s trade chief, Piyush Goyal, next week for the fourth round of talks on a trade deal between both countries.
This is a matter of urgency for the Government, as officials rush to get the UK–India trade deal over the line by October 24. With India being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, the investment relationship between both parties is already worth £24bn and supports more than half a million jobs across the UK.
A trade agreement with India is one of high-importance, and to expedite this deal could pump billions more into Britain’s economy, generate further employment opportunities, and attract skilled talent to fill the current skills drought.
The prime minister’s last visit to India cast a light on the vitality and potential of the UK’s largest ever free trade agreement with the ever-growing global superpower. Johnson’s visit helped secure more than £1 billion in new investments, generating 11,000 jobs across the UK in software engineering and health sectors – building on the 95,000 jobs already supported by Indian investment in the UK. The topics of discussion in the next round of talks will likely continue to build on the blocks of India’s skilled sector to combat Britain’s diminishing IT and programming sector. The main priority will be to ensure the two nations get the most out of the strategic partnership, as both players continue to explore the possibility of an interim agreement to provide quick gains for benefitting businesses on both sides.
Britain has already made strides in securing a strategic partnership with India, with a primary focus on cyber security, science and education. Recently, the largest ever delegation of UK universities met with India’s key and central government officials to scout for New Education Policy (NEP) aligned collaborations. This comes as the government looks to strengthen educational ties with India – home to 25% of the world’s software engineers – to fill the nation’s worst skills shortage on record.
Dubbed as Asia’s Silicon Valley, India’s $3 trillion GDP means that the country is on track to becoming the third largest economy in the world by 2050. India is rapidly stretching its might across the world stage, with a young and dynamic population of 1.39 billion people – 43% of skilled workers entering the UK last year were Indian nationals, further exhibiting the untapped potential in talent in India.
Nayan Gala, founder of JPIN, comments: “India is one of the world’s largest economies and presents huge potential as a key partner for trade and investment for the UK. India is a 21st century powerhouse and therefore, establishing a solid relationship with the UK in trade, technology and security could be significantly beneficial for both parties. The significance of the relationship between both parties cannot be underestimated.
“It’s clear that closing the trade deal is a top priority for the government, and there appears to be fewer stumbling blocks as we edge closer to the finish line. India is goods and resource-wealthy, growing exponentially, and will be the centre of world trade in the coming decades. Therefore, building a trade and technology relationship here is particularly important to allow the UK to benefit from the immense growth India is already experiencing.
“In what looks to be the final round of discussions, we are likely to see a continued focus on alleviating Britain’s pressure in the IT and programming sector. The discussion will also look to ways that the deal could help with small businesses in both countries, especially because the levelling-up agenda is such as pressing matter for the UK government. These talks will look to future-proof the economy, and it’s fantastic to see that its slowly coming to fruition.”