The latest Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) and Ernst & Young Sterling Access' report, which examines trade between the UK and India, found that despite trade disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, British firms from April to June this year continued to invest around GBP 140 million in India.
The reforms introduced by the Indian government such as revising the labour laws, planned single window clearance for licence applications and other incentives have helped British firms stay bullish on investing in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report released this week.
Overall, trade between the UK and India hit GBP 24 billion till March 2020, up by nearly 12 per cent in just one year. India invested in 120 projects and created 5,429 new jobs, making India the second-largest foreign investor in the UK, just after the US.
“The Indian government has hugely stepped up its efforts to improve the business environment this year, from accelerating the use of digital and online services in the supply chain to implementing major labour reforms,” said Lord Karan Bilimoria, the Indian-origin president of the CBI, which speaks on behalf of 190,000 British businesses.
The CBI report, jointly issued with professional services organisation Ernst & Young, welcomes India’s ambitious reforms agenda, which it notes is part of a national challenge to jump up the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ and recommends actions which would speed up the reduction of trade barriers.
Some of these actions include a reduction in technical barriers to trade by adopting international standards and certification; formalising the new Joint Economic Trade Committee services working group; enabling growth of the insurance market by raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit from the existing 49 per cent to at least 74 per cent; implementation of labour reforms across all states; and developing new Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to support both manufacturing and services sectors.