UK-India trade soars despite missed trade deal deadline

Tue 25 Oct 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

UK India Trade deal negotiations

British trade with India has hit its highest recorded level ever despite failure of both governments to clinch a trade deal by its hoped for deadline this week.

Figures from financial services firm Ebury indicate exports in July (£939m) and August (£913m) were more than £900m for the first time ever.

This takes the total volume of exports to India so far this year (Jan-Aug) to £5.5 billion, surpassing all preceding full calendar years on record except 2011 (£6.4 billion).

Imports also hit a high in August of £990m and have been over £900m for seven consecutive months, having never broken that level before.

‘Rocket fuel’

Jack Sirett, partner at Ebury, told City AM that a successful FTA with India “would put rocket fuel in trading volumes which are already rising rapidly, particularly in sectors such as automotive, agri-food, machinery, and pharmaceutical industries that are keen to export to India”.

Both India and the UK had distanced themselves from the deadline in recent weeks, with departed home secretary Suella Braverman’s comments on Indian migration leading to dismay from officials, as covered in the IOE&IT Daily Update.

Rishi factor

Downing Street insisted earlier this month there was no rush to finalise an agreement amid reports that talks with Narendra Modi’s government were close to collapse, according to The Independent.

However, officials from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have said that the appointment of Rishi Sunak as UK prime minister will revitalise relations.

“We would certainly look forward to a much better relationship between India and the United Kingdom,” a BJP spokesman told the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, new export opportunities have been granted to the British aerospace sector after a UK Export Finance (UKEF) deal with a leading Brazilian aerospace manufacturer.

UK exporting

The government’s export credit agency is supporting a £89m loan through JP Morgan in a deal that will help Embraer – the third largest commercial jet manufacturer in the world – access parts, components and technology from UK suppliers.

Samir Parkash, interim CEO of UKEF said: “Now, with this UKEF first deal with Embraer, we can export world renowned British expertise and technology in the aviation and aerospace industry to Brazil – an economy that was rapid in recovering pre-pandemic levels of economic activity, that keeps on growing strong in 2022 and is an important trading partner to the UK.”

In the four quarters to Q1 2022 trade in goods and services between the two nations increased by 18% year-over-year reaching £6.5 billion.