Here we go again! Boris poised for India trip as he eyes spectacular £100bn trade deal

Liz Truss submits UK's application to join the CPTPP

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The news comes in the wake of International Trade Secretary Liz Truss’s successful trip last month, after which she talking of a “new chapter of the UK’s national story” in a comment piece for Mr Johnson’s visit will the first overseas tour by a UK Prime Minister since predecessor Theresa May’s trip to Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in August 2018.

It had originally been planned for January but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr Johnson has also invited three Indo-Pacific countries – India, Australia and South Korea – to attend the G7 summit in Cornwall in June.

Writing earlier this month, Ms Truss said: “Living up to its reputation as the ‘pharmacy of the world’, India has kept supplies of critical medicines and medical-grade PPE flowing to the UK. 

Meanwhile, the Serum Institute – which I visited on Monday – is set to produce over a billion doses of our life-saving Oxford vaccine.

“There are few markets around the world that offer greater potential than India.

“This huge market of 1.4 billion people is already emerging as the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is expected to become the second biggest in the world by 2050, making it a crucial long-term trading partner.

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“Securing new opportunities will help our businesses grow by investing in their staff and commercial future, whether it is Twinings selling tea to India, Brompton selling its bicycles, or the Dunstable bakery exporting their naan bread.”

She added: “The Indian pharmaceutical giant Wockhardt has extended its contract in Wrexham, showing its long-term commitment to providing jobs in North Wales as more vaccines roll off its plant’s production line.

“I am proud to be pushing on with our Enhanced Trade Partnership, which will secure more high-quality jobs as we work towards a full free trade agreement.”

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Commenting, Gaurav Singh, founding partner at venture capitalist firm JPIN VCATS, told “India is one of the world’s largest economies and presents huge potential as a key partner for trade and investment for the UK.

“India is a 21st-century powerhouse and creating a strong UK-India trading relationship will help to fuel economic recovery in a post-Brexit, post-Covid UK.

“India and the UK have been working to improve trade and it can really allow the UK to benefit from the immense growth India is about to experience in the coming decade.

“A trade deal with India could be as high as £50-100billion, given India was a top-two FDI source for the UK and the UK has been a top-six investor into India.

“A trade deal will open the door to 1.3 billion potential customers for UK businesses, and provide opportunities for business improvement, consolidation, foreign expansion and diversification in a rapidly growing market.”

Both Mr Johnson and Joe Biden, US president Joe Biden, are urging democracies to co-operate to thwart China’s increasing technological dominances – especially the role of Huawei in 5G.

Two Indian government officials today confirmed it is likely to block its mobile carriers from using telecom equipment made by Huawei under procurement rules due to come into force in June.

The situation in India has been amplified by strained relations between New Delhi and Beijing over their shared border.

India’s telecoms department said yesterday that after June 15 carriers can only buy certain types of equipment from government-approved “trusted sources” and said New Delhi could also create a “no procurement” blacklist.

Huawei is likely to feature on this embargoed list, the two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

One added: “We cannot prioritise economic gains if an investment poses a national security risk.”

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