Business and trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, introduced the “Alive with Opportunity” campaign on Thursday (24).
The aim of the campaign is to facilitate the augmentation of trade with India by 2030, employing a range of focused trade missions tailored for UK enterprises operating within rapidly expanding industries.
The cabinet minister, who arrived in India on a three-day visit to attend the G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial Meeting in Jaipur and hold bilateral talks with commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi, said she hoped to further the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations – now in their twelfth round of negotiations.
Additionally, the new GBP 1.5-million “GREAT” marketing blitz is aimed at going beyond the strong bilateral business and trade links to highlight shared cultural interests – from football and cricket, to food and film.
“I’m delighted to be returning to India to support their G20 Presidency, further our trade talks and meet key business leaders,” Badenoch said on the eve of her visit.
“The UK and India have a thriving relationship and we both share an ambition to deepen our cultural and trading ties. India is the UK’s second biggest source of investment projects and I’m confident this new campaign will help boost interest in and demand for UK goods and services even further,” she said.
While at the G20 trade meet, the UK’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT) said the minister will pitch for greater deployment of digital trade, which will cut red tape and make it easier for UK businesses of all sizes to buy and sell internationally.
Her visit coincides with Round 12 of the FTA talks being hosted by New Delhi and her meeting with Goyal will “take stock” of negotiations and agree how to progress a deal, which is expected to boost bilateral trade already worth GBP 36 billion in 2022.
The UK government said both sides have come forward with an ambitious set of asks and the latest phase of negotiations covers “complex, sensitive, and commercially meaningful issues” – including goods, services, and investment.
The DBT reiterated that the focus remains on getting the best deal for both sides, which will be signed only when there is a deal that is “fair, reciprocal and ultimately in the best interests of the British people and the UK economy.”
In New Delhi, Badenoch is also scheduled to meet some of India’s major businesses across a range of sectors, including BP, HSBC, Vodafone, Rolls Royce and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Friday.
She will hold a bilateral with Tata Group chair Natarajan Chandrasekaran, following the company’s announcement last month of a new GBP 4-billion electric vehicles’ battery gigafactory in the UK.
“With total trade growing 34 per cent in current prices in the year to March 2023 and India remaining the 2nd largest source of FDI (foreign direct investment) projects in the UK, there is no doubt that the economic relationship between our two countries is flourishing,” said Richard McCallum, UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) CEO.
“UK companies recognise that India is one of the fastest growing economies and one that is alive with opportunity in a range of sectors, including R&D, talent, and manufacturing. Indian firms are also embracing UK technology and capital to grow internationally. I’m encouraged to see the launch of this campaign, which showcases our countries’ symbiotic relationship and the many cultural and trading opportunities both have to offer,” he said.
Higher education, agri-tech, and e-sports will feature as prominent sectors in a revamped series of modern, targeted UK trade missions to India over the coming year under the new DBT marketing campaign.
The “Alive with Opportunity” programme is designed to build on the UK and India’s strong and enduring relationship, boost trade and investment, and promote the two nations’ powerful cultural links.
The DBT said the campaign will celebrate business, trade, cultural and sporting links between the UK and India, taking advantage of major moments such as India’s hosting of the Cricket World Cup from October and the England-India test series starting in January next year.
Adverts promoting the UK will feature across billboards, in airports and across social media channels in India backed by a series of targeted trade missions, promotional events and marketing activations in both countries.
Latest DBT data shows India is the UK’s second largest source of investment projects, with 118 new projects in the last financial year creating 8,384 new jobs.
More than 900 Indian businesses operate in the UK, and more than 600 UK businesses are finding success in India supporting more than half a million jobs across both countries.
The new campaign aims to stimulate interest and demand for UK goods and services and attract new Indian inward investment.
Under the campaign, this month delegates from UK and Indian companies will share their innovations and expertise at the Agritech India exhibition in Bengaluru, followed by the Global Fintech Festival in Mumbai in September, International Railway Equipment Exhibition in Delhi in October, and Createch Mission to Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Bengaluru in November.
In January 2024, Indian companies will visit the UK for the first UK-India Roadshow, which will take place up and down the country.