UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has announced investment commitments made by Indian companies, including IT major Tata Consultancy Services, that will create 1,500 high-skilled jobs all over the UK, and further investment by bio-tech company Wockhardt in Wrexham, Wales, according to a statement released by the British High Commission.

Truss concluded a five-day visit to India, mapping the path to a potential future free trade deal and deepening trading ties between the UK and India, the statement said.

“Deeper trading ties (with India) will create opportunities for UK businesses that were simply not there as part of the EU, and set the stage for a much closer partnership with one of the economic powerhouses of the present and future.....We will be collaborating much more closely in the industries of tomorrow like science, tech and green growth, so we can build back better and deliver an export-led, investment-led, jobs-led recovery from coronavirus,” Truss said.

Apart from the 1,500 jobs to be created by the investments by TCS in the tech sector, Wockhardt has confirmed further investment in Wrexham, Wales, leading to more than 40 new jobs and the extension of its Covid-19 vaccination contract to ensure the UK has uninterrupted fill and finish capacity for vaccines in 2022, the statement added.

Other important investment tie-up announcements include one made by UK’s AI healthcare start-up Behold on its partnership with India’s Apollo Group to provide a diagnostic tool which can quickly analyse chest x-rays to aid in screening patients for Covid-19.

UK firm Micropore, which specialises in equipment and support services to enable pharma companies to improve the performance and economies of their formulated products, is also setting up a facility in Hyderabad to supply to its customers in the region and neighbouring markets, the statement said.

Throughout the global pandemic, India and the UK have supported each other by keeping vital supply chains open, tackling protectionism and collaborating on vaccine research whether that be the production of over a billion doses of the life-saving Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine at India’s Serum Institute or unlocking the export of nearly 3 million packets of paracetamol to the UK, the statement further pointed out.

Outline of ETP

On Saturday, the UK Minister agreed an outline of a new Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) with Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal as part of the development of a roadmap that would lead to a potential comprehensive free trade agreement, including considerations on an interim agreement on preferential basis.

The UK-India trade relationship, worth £23 billion in 2019, supports key industries such as technology and life sciences and around half-a-million jobs in each other’s economies, the statement said.