For doubling and enhancing bilateral trade by 2030, India and the UK have agreed to a new Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP). With the ETP in place, it will be easier to negotiate an India-UK Free Trade Agreement in the future. The decision was taken when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his British counterpart Prime Minister Boris Johnson during summit level talks virtually on Tuesday (May 4, 2021).
Briefing the media persons virtually, Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (Europe West), Ministry of External Affairs, said, “The virtual summit has opened a new chapter in bilateral relations between the two countries. The leaders had substantive discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.”
According to the Joint Secretary, the other big take away from the first ever virtual summit between the two nations was the Declaration on Enhanced Trade Partnership. Brexit has provided new opportunities for both countries. The two-way trade in 2019-20 was USD 15.4 billion dollars.
At the summit, in an effort to more than double the trade by 2030, the two leaders announced their intent to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA and this will include an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains.
Launch of Roadmap 2030
As reported in Financial Express Online on Monday (May 3, 2021) the biggest deliverable of the summit was the launch of Roadmap2030. The Roadmap which was adopted by the two leaders would pave the way for deeper and stronger engagement over the next ten years. And also help to elevate India-UK partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP)
With EPA in place now new opportunities will be unlocked for both the Indian and British companies and this help in strengthening trade relations between the two sides.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In the decade ahead, with the help of the new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India. This will take the relationship between our two countries to new highs.”
Why is ETP important?
It will address immediate market access barriers and will help seek further opportunities which will benefit businesses and consumers in both countries.
The Partnership sets the ambition to double the UK-India trade by 2030 the shared intent to start working towards negotiations on a comprehensive FTA..
There will be immediate opportunities for businesses across industries. These include a commitment for mutual recognition of Seafarers’ Certificate of Competency; an independent risk-based decision-making process for suitable listing and re-listing of new and de-listed Indian fishery establishments and phased reduction in shrimp sampling protocol. And, a taskforce under a new healthcare pillar will be set up which will provide opportunities for Indian nurses and nursing associates seeking to train and work in the UK’s National Health Service.
Migration & Mobility Partnership
Sandeep Chakravorty, Joint Secretary (Europe West), Ministry of External Affairs, said, “Both countries have signed a comprehensive MoU on Migration and Mobility Partnership. This has been offered to India for the first time. Under this MoU the UK has agreed to create a new scheme on youth mobility.”
With this MoU in place, each year up to 3000 young Indian professionals can avail employment opportunities in the UK for a period of two years and they will not be subject to labour market test.”
Does the UK have such an agreement with others?
Yes. According to the MEA official, the UK has such arrangements with select partner countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. The MoU inked today will help in streamlining the procedure on returns, and reflects the growing confidence between the two countries.