India and the UK have launched three new working groups to surmount barriers to bilateral trade in food and drink, life sciences and healthcare, and digital and data services. These working groups, to be run by the UK India Business Council with business chambers CII and FICCI, will identify solutions to the key issues faced in each sector and make recommendations directly to ministers of the two countries.
This followed talks Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had on Monday with Trade Secretary Liam Fox about ways to strengthen trade and cooperation between two nations. India and the UK review trade relations annually at the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) and Monday saw its 13th session having been established in 2005. An array of issues was discussed under the framework.
Goyal also met a diverse group of UK businesses,
including SMEs and MNC investors to
discuss market access barriers and delivering ease of doing business reform in a meeting that
included Secretary of State for Housing,
Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, UK High Commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith and
the Indian High Commissioner Ruchi
Goyal also attended a breakfast meeting hosted by High Commissioner Ghanashyam along with Members of the UK Parliament and discussed various topics to boost economic engagement between the two nations.
The Indian government has been taking Ease of Doing Business reforms down to the State and District levels which will be a major part of transforming the day-to-day operating environment, especially for SMEs.
Likewise, strengthening IP enforcement, streamlining customs approvals, delivering globally competitive taxation rates would signal India’s national determination to be a global, high-value, manufacturing hub.
In an important meeting for Indian business, the UKIBC and CII hosted leading Indian investors in the UK for direct talks with senior Home Office officials as part of consultations on the UK Government’s new skills-based immigration White Paper.
It is often said that India will require more access to UK work visas as part of any future trade deal. Engagement with India and Indian businesses has been the top priority for the UK Government since the White Paper was released in December 2018, with the first overseas consultation visit being to India in January this year.