India-UK ‘early market access’ package to be implemented with no further negotiations

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 05, 2021

Vaccine co-operation to continue, says UK High Commissioner to India

The India-UK ‘Early Market Access’ package for sectors such as medical devices, fruits, shrimps and nursing agreed to this week at the Summit meeting will be implemented by the two sides without further negotiations while the full-fledged bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations could take several months to begin, the UK High Commissioner to India Alexander Ellis has said.

On the vaccine co-operation between the two countries, Ellis said that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India was a success but there will be a need to continue the co-operation in the future. “We will need to produce new vaccines as new strains emerge. Vaccines are also being administered through different ways such as through the nose... India is an essential country for us to work with,” he said.

‘Transforming relationship’

The ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to more than double two-way trade by 2030, would help in the transformation of bilateral relationship that the two countries were aiming for, the High Commissioner said.

He explained that it could take a while for the India-UK FTA negotiations to start as there will be several weeks of consultations between the two sides following which the Parliament would have to give approval to the start of negotiations.

The ‘Early Market Access’ Package would, however, be implemented soon. “The early market access package will not need any negotiations as these are unilateral measures that are being taken by the two sides,” Ellis said.

As part of the package, the UK has agreed to open up the fisheries sector, mainly shrimps, for more Indian players, facilitate more opportunities for nurses, recognise Indian seafarers certificates and also enter into a joint dialogue on the Social Security Agreement.

In return, India has agreed to the UK’s demands on more market access for fruits, medical devices, and mutual recognition of masters degrees and also work towards reciprocal opening of legal services. These actions are likely to generate 20,000-25,000 new direct and indirect jobs in India.

Ellis said that the India-UK Summit was transformatory. “Finally, we have left the EU completely and are free to have our own migration policy and trade policy among others,” he said.

Published on May 05, 2021

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