The collaboration and trading between the great nations of India and the United Kingdom began over four Hundred years ago. The East India Company was established by English merchants under royal charter issued by queen Elizabeth I. This company influenced Britain’s dining tables through the introduction of exotic ingredients and flavours, but more fundamentally it changed the worlds customs, tastes and ways of thinking. It created new communities, trading places, cities and commercial routes. It mined its own currency, introduced tea from India. The company became the single most powerful economic entity the world has ever seen. At its height it was responsible for 50% of world trade and employed 25% of Britain’s population. As a result, London became the most powerful city on the world map.
The striped EITC flag.
Today, the UK ranks 18th as a trading partner of India and third as an investor in India. The bilateral trade agreements between the two nations have strengthened the ties and made this possible.
With the increase in multinational Indian companies in the UK, the UK’s economy has benefitted tremendously. As of 2014, these companies generated more than 19 billion pounds and have employed more than 100,000 people in the UK, a Grant Thornton report has shown. Similarly, around 530 British businesses have employed around 700,000 Indians, and have generated a near revenue of US$54 Billion in India, with reference to Sterling Assets India Report by CBI and PwC.
In 2016, India’s goods exports to the UK reached near £6.4 billion. This represented 1.4% of all UK goods imports rending the UK India’s 5th largest export market.
One of the reasons that the British government has chosen India as one of its most influential trade partners is due to it being one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
However, trade between the two countries only makes up one aspect of the UK-India bilateral economic relationship. Others include, strong bilateral investment and collaborations on innovative R&D.
With the increasingly positive momentum in the Indian economy and the constant stream of opportunities offered within the UK, we expect two-way progress in trade and investment to continue.