UKIBC’s 7th Annual Report on Doing Business in India: The UK Perspective
Trade and investment priorities were front and centre when the Indian and UK Prime Ministers announced a “transformational” Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSR) on 4 May 2021. The CSR includes most notably a UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) and commitments to double trade by 2030 and move forward with Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations by the end of 2021.
Businesses are active stakeholders in this process towards a Free Trade Agreement. The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) believes that an active and open dialogue between businesses and the Governments of both countries is critical to successful FTA negotiations and to achieving the wider ETP ambitions.
That is why we have been fully focused on supporting the efforts of both Governments during the critical consultancy period. It may be presumed that many of the issues raised under an “Ease of Doing Business” survey are separate from the Free Trade Agreement process. We would disagree. Indeed, the strong message received by UKIBC during the FTA consultancy period is that the emphasis on Ease of Doing Business should not be reduced as both Governments become focussed on the FTA process. Rather, Ease of Doing Business and the Free Trade Agreement are integrally linked, reflecting non-tariff operational improvements which can be affected in both the UK and in India to facilitate bilateral trade.
The findings of the UKIBC’s Doing Business in India survey show that UK companies remain committed to operate, assemble, manufacture and trade with India and are keen to continue to support in India’s development.
This report is set out as follows: first, it details why companies want to do business in India and outlines an assessment of India’s business environment based on a UK business perspective. It then highlights the challenges that businesses face when doing business in India and related reform priorities. All this is complemented by the findings of our extensive business consultation as part of the pre-FTA process, in which we held 20 roundtables with more than 200 businesses, before concluding. This is done with the aim of uncovering the existing ease of doing business in India and shaping its progression.