UKIBC releases its Annual Advocacy Report for 2021 amidst growing UK-India trade and investment

By Kealan Finnegan

The UK India Business Council has released its report ‘Advocating Business Success in 2021’ on Monday 12th April 2021 containing many positive advocacy outcomes in support of the UK-India trade and investment relationship. The advocacy wins span key sectors such as Aerospace and Defence, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals, Digital and Data services, Food and Drink, Higher Education, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering; Sports Betting, Legal and Professional Services, and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance.

The UK and India have long been important economic partners, and their mutually beneficial relationship has grown significantly in the last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint effort on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India in Pune is exemplary of the valuable outcomes that can be achieved when the UK and India come together. That trend is set to continue; India’s FDI cap has been extended from 49 percent to 74 percent in the insurance and defence sectors and the country’s new National Education Policy introduced in 2020 sets a precedent for internationalisation of higher education in India and for Indians looking to study abroad.

The UK is establishing its post-Brexit “Global Britain” agenda, shifting the focus away from the European Union to ‘deepening our relationships with allies and partners around the world’ with a marked focus on the Indo-Pacific region (UK Cabinet Office, 16th March 2021). Simultaneously, India is projected to become the world’s third largest economy by 2030. This provides enormous opportunities to UK businesses, aided by India’s growing consumption, investment, and production and service markets.

Many UK businesses of all sizes are already succeeding in India. The UK is currently the sixth largest investor in India, with cumulative inflow of USD 29.5 billion from 2000-2020. 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 100,000 people. As a result, India is the second largest investor in the UK. Yet, the UKIBC believes that, with the collective ambition of business and government on both sides, that trade and investment will flourish.

UKIBC Group CEO, Jayant Krishna said: “It is a pleasure to share the advocacy successes and goals of the UKIBC through our annual Advocating Business Success Report. The UKIBC strengthens the UK-India trade and investment ties through policy advocacy, strategic advisory and membership services, and supporting governmental deliberations. The bilateral relationship has stepped up significantly this year amidst India’s self-reliant goal and the UK’s post-Brexit agenda, and as such it is a really exciting and opportunistic time for companies in both countries.”

Krishna further added, “Some of the key successes highlighted in our report include the reduction in India’s corporate tax rate, the increase in India’s FDI limit in the insurance sector, and India’s globalisation agenda under its new National Education Policy 2020, India’s FDI cap increase from 49% to 74% through the automatic route for defence sector, and increase in the ceiling prices of 21 drug formulations by 50%. On the UK side, the two-year post-study work visa was a welcome move.  UKIBC also carried out a lot of advocacy work closely aligned with the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) which brings businesses from both countries together with UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, and other senior Government officials.”

UKIBC Managing Director, Kevin McCole said: “We are proud to support UK and Indian businesses with their advocacy objectives. We have recently stepped up our efforts to help Indian companies navigate the UK, which is fast changing and not just because it has left the EU. The UK is also changing because of economic policies being put in place to build back better from the Covid recession, and because of devolution to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and to the major cities that have powerful elected Mayors. All of this is new and relevant for Indian businesses.

Through the fantastic relationships we hold with Governments and Mayors across both countries, we will continue to support our members through 2021.”

The report is available to download free here

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