UKIBC CEO, Richard Heald, on UK and India Partners in Revival: Time to Refresh & Re-ignite – India Inc Global India Week

By Kealan Finnegan

Richard Heald, UKIBC Group CEO, took part in a discussion with UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, and other esteemed guests as part of India Inc’s Global India Week 2020, a week of more than 75 sessions and 250 speakers covering India’s Global outlook.

Richard and Ms Truss spoke alongside Indian High Commissioner to the UK, HE Gaitri I. Kumar; Lord Mayor, City of London, William Russell; and President of Infosys, Mohit Joshi, on progress that has been made across trade and investment between the UK and India, and whether the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn can inject new impetus into the relationship.

A summary of Richard’s discussion is outlined below:

The UK and India have long been significant trading partners:

  • UK-India Trade is now up to $24bn annually
  • UK is the top G20 FDI investor in India this century
  • India is the second largest investor into the UK (second only to the US)*
  • Over 500 UK companies make, assemble and source in India
  • And most of the UK’s FTSE top 100 and top 250 are invested in India.

Now is an important and promising time to refresh and revitalise this great partnership. After all, the UK has a new High Commissioner to India in Sir Philip Barton, and a New UK Trade Commissioner in Alan Gemmell. On the other hand, India has appointed Ms Gaitri I Kumar as India High Commissioner to the UK. And the UK-India Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO) is to meet later this month on 23rd July.

At JETCO, the UK’s Secretary of State, Liz Truss, will meet with Minister Goyal to discuss the future trade relationship between these great partners and how to overcome existing market access barriers, focussing on three key sectors for collaboration: digital and data services; life science and healthcare; and food and drink.

Positive developments in UK-India collaboration in healthtech, defence and financial services are among the positive signs to build on.

The UK and India have already come together in light of COVID-19 too, through provision of PPE, pharmaceuticals, and helping thousands in both countries to return home through repatriation flights. In March and April, UKIBC on behalf of our members made submissions to GoI in relation to challenges pertaining to COVID-19. The GoI has been highly responsive and within a short period over 70 percent of all recommendations were put into place at Union and at State levels.

UKIBC and our members are fully committed to the Indian government initiative of the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” or self-reliant India. UK industry is already heavily invested in many sectors in India – the 500 UK companies operating in the UK employ some 800,000 across businesses which collectively represent some 5 percent of Indian’s organised sector. As such they are keen to further contribute and support initiatives to develop indigenous capabilities to achieve economic efficiency and balance of trade thus taking forward the India UK Strategic Business Initiative forward.

Further improvement to India’s recent success on ease of doing business will help more companies to support and grow in the UK-India economic corridor, helping to create jobs and prosperity in both countries.


*As announced by on 11th July 2020.

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