The leading technology trade associations of the UK and India have sought a closer trade relationship and identified four priority areas to unlock growth. An open letter addressed to the prime ministers of the UK and India, drafted jointly by techUk and Nasscom, stated that a closer tech trading relationship will create new prosperity for both countries.
This letter comes in the backdrop of the UK’s new visa regulations which makes its more cumbersome and costlier for Indian IT professionals to work in that country. UK PM Theresa May is currently on an official visit to India. She will be in Bengaluru on Tuesday and is expected to hold trade meetings besides a visit to Dynamatics, an aerospace company.
The letter said technology exports from India to the UK stood at $19 billion in 2015. The UK is also India’s largest G20 investor, employing nearly 700,000 people across India. “Indian IT companies play a key role in driving the UK’s growth and prosperity by significantly enhancing productivity and global competitiveness of British businesses, contributing to overall growth and job creation of the UK economy,” the letter said.
Both the trade associations have mooted four priority areas to unlock new growth in tech and ICT services between the UK and India. These are: partnering in innovation, the value of international tech talent, sharing best practice on digital skills training and an FTA that prioritises talent and data flows.
On the innovation front, the letter said both the governments’ commitment to emerging sectors such as FinTech, cyber security, the Internet of Things and smart cities provides fertile ground for new joint initiatives. On the movement of tech talent, the letter said India has a surplus of tech skills and produces nearly 3.5 million highly skilled graduates each year in areas where UK businesses face skills shortages.