UK India Business Council: Advocating Business Success in 2022

Release date: 19th January 2022

This report outlines the breadth of advocacy work that the UK India Business Council has delivered in 2021 and sets out our objectives and plans for 2022.

The UK and India are important economic partners, and the mutually beneficial relationship has taken a step up in 2021. On May 4, Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi signed a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” that includes a commitment to negotiate a UK-India Free Trade Agreement and a 2030 Roadmap to double bilateral trade in the next decade. In January 2022, we saw that commitment come to fruition as UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, formally launched the UK-India Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

In the next decade, India is projected to become the world’s third largest economy. Simultaneously, the UK has ‘tilted’ its Global Britain strategy towards the Indo-Pacific, and both countries are keen to strengthen the bilateral partnership. These phenomena, in combination with a future FTA, provide enormous opportunities for UK and Indian businesses.

Nonetheless, India is a complex market with significant challenges. Progress is being made via business-friendly reforms that have made paying tax, accessing credit, and trading across borders quicker and easier. At the same time, new measures related to India’s self-reliant mission, Atmanirbhar Bharat, continue to be marked by some concern from UK businesses, which are keen to increase their exports and investments in India.

Many UK businesses of all sizes are already succeeding in India. The UK is currently the sixth largest investor in India, with a cumulative inflow of USD 29.5 billion since 2001. FDI from the UK is responsible for more than 400,000 direct jobs in India and over 800,000 indirectly. This is a reciprocal relationship with over 840 Indian businesses operating in the UK, employing over 110,000 people. As these businesses are operating all over India, our advocacy efforts not only span the Government of India Ministries in New Delhi, but also involve close dialogue with the all-important State Governments too.

As the bilateral relationship steps up in 2022, the UKIBC will continue to work closely with our members and clients, and with both governments, to drive the UK-India relationship forward and ensure a trade and investment environment that supports business success.

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