North West trade with India worth £1bn a year

6th November 2020, 3:03 pm

The value of trade with India for North West businesses hit £1bn for the first time in 2019, according to analysis from Deloitte.

Research from the business advisory firm, in partnership with the Manchester India Partnership, reveals that the total value of imports and exports involving Indian companies exceeded £1bn last year – compared to £887m in 2015.

This comes as the latest Foreign Direct Investment figures (FDI) reveal that India was the third most active investor in new projects in Greater Manchester between 2017 and 2020, behind Germany and the United States. The 15 projects begun during this time has created an additional 792 jobs, nearly four times that of China over the same period (194).

Deloitte’s research also shows that both interest from Indian companies in North West products and North West interest in Indian products has increased considerably in recent years. Since 2016, the value of exports to India has risen 20 per cent, while imports have jumped 13 per cent over the same period.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the region has continued its commitment to strengthening ties with India. Last month, Virgin Atlantic announced the launch of new direct flights to Mumbai and Delhi from Manchester Airport, starting from December and January respectively.

The benefits of greater connectivity between the North West and India was highlighted in a 2018 report conducted by Deloitte on behalf of the Confederation of Indian Industry and Manchester India Partnership. According to analysis, new routes to Indian centres could support the creation of an additional 2,000 jobs and unlock up to £400m extra in GDP for the North in the next five years.

Improving relationships with India is also reflected on a national level, with more than 800 Indian-owned companies established in the UK, creating over 110,000 jobs.

Jo Ahmed, Global Employer Services Partner at Deloitte in the North West, said: “As these latest figures show, India has become a key trading partner for North West companies in recent years, overtaking some of the more established European markets. The opportunity for the region to export to India is now enormous, with British products often seen as best in class due to the heritage of our manufacturing expertise. We have already seen the creation of a UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), providing direct dialogue about an enhanced trade relationship and working towards a free trade agreement.

“However, we have also seen a greater number of investments made by Indian companies in North West infrastructure projects, adding significant value to the regional economy and further strengthening the relationship between the two locations. Looking beyond the current pandemic, as connectivity continues to improve, we expect to see more and more of the region’s businesses explore options to partner with India in the coming years.”

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