Johnson’s state visit to India cancelled – Free Trade Agreement still on the table

April 19, 2021

Gaurav Singh, co-founder of JPIN VCATS, comments on the importance of the FTA for both nations.

Today it was announced that Johnson’s state visit will not go ahead as planned. “Instead, Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson will speak later this month to agree and launch their ambitious plans for the future partnership between the UK and India”, labelled ‘Roadmap 2030’. It is the hope of both Governments and businesses in both countries that a Free Trade Agreement with India can be finalised, as it is expected to be worth $50-100 billion for the UK economy and will provide a vital market now Britain has left the EU.

Despite wobbles in optimism due to the Pandemic, growth in the subcontinent is still forecasted at double digits as the tech and digital sector thrives due to growing investment and a Government led digitalisation drive. Now Britain has left the EU, the 1.3 billion potential consumers and an ever-growing middle class is vital as both a market to import from and export to, and brings a raft of exciting new investment opportunities.  

Last week, JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimmon said that because of Brexit, London will need to “adapt and reinvent itself” for the “business of tomorrow” to ensure it remains a global financial centre after Brexit. Many of these ‘businesses of tomorrow’ will be in emerging markets, and a Free Trade Agreement is the best way to ensure a symbiotic relationship between the UK and these economies.

Out of all the emerging economies, many think India has the most potential. The sheer number of people is only matched as an incentive by the development milestones passed and sophistication of its industries and workforce. India produces 25% of the world’s engineers, and by 2025, there will be 1 billion internet users according to Atlas VPN. This shows that the subcontinent is rapidly developing into a modern economic powerhouse, in terms of both production and consumption of basic goods as well as advanced, digital products.

Gaurav Singh, co-founder of JPIN VCATS, comments on Johnson’s visit to India and what is at stake:

“Communication between the British PM and his Indian counterpart is of vital importance to both nations due to the hope that a Free Trade Agreement can be negotiated. While decision was quite rightly taken not to physically travel due to the rise in Covid-19 cases throughout the Subcontinent, I hope a productive conversation can still be had around easing trade barriers and ensuring prosperity for both nations.

In times of this potential crisis, international cooperation is incredibly important. It has often been said that it is a global approach that will be the way out of this Pandemic, and so the ability to communicate and discuss ideas is vital.

Out of all the incredible opportunities throughout the world, India stands out for the British government, business leaders, and investors – and for good reason, and to ensure a continued symbiotic relationship, the FTA should be put down on paper as soon as possible. The Silk Road has been the world’s most important trade route for millennia, and all the forecasts point to it only becoming more important as emerging economies, particularly India, grow exponentially”.

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