I am pleased to inform the House that I will be co-chairing the twelfth meeting of the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in London on Thursday 11 January with Shri Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Commerce and Industry.
The UK-India JETCO was established on 13 January 2005 to further develop the India-UK strategic economic partnership. India and the UK already enjoy a strong bilateral relationship, and both sides take a mutual interest in enhancing the competitiveness of the two economies. Bilateral trade between the UK and India has grown over the last ten years and was £15.4 billion in 2016. We also have strong investment links; the UK has been the largest G20 investor in India over the last 10 years and Indian companies operating in the UK account for around 110,000 jobs. At the last UK-India JETCO, in November 2016, I agreed with my co-chair to establish a Joint Trade Review, a collaborative analytical project, that will evaluate the range of ways we can strengthen the UK-India trade relationship and remove barriers, both at present and as we leave the EU.
The twelfth meeting of the JETCO will be a key opportunity to further strengthen our relationship with an important and close trade and investment partner. The meeting will be supported by business working groups on smart cities and technology, advanced manufacturing and engineering, and will receive an update on the UK-India Joint Trade Review from my officials and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry. We will also welcome increased support from the UK’s official export credit agency, UK Export Finance, for trade with India, of up to £4.5 billion. This will provide an additional £2.75 billion in support for UK companies exporting to India and for Indian buyers of UK goods and services, and be available in Indian rupees. The meeting will also be an important milestone towards the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April, from which we expect to give greater impetus to intra-Commonwealth trade. A joint statement will be released on Thursday 11 January to report on the outcomes of the JETCO.