We are using our freedom as an independent trading nation to forge closer bonds with like-minded democracies, driven by our shared love for freedom, innovation and preserving our natural environment. Free and fair trade will turbocharge our economic recovery and future growth, which is why we have sought to fully embrace our allies. This week, I have been in India marking a new chapter of the UK’s national story, deepening our relationship – worth £23 billion a year of trade in 2019 – with the world’s biggest democracy.
We are seeing the strength of our partnership – built on our common values - in our steadfast support for each other in the fight against coronavirus.
Living up to its reputation as the “pharmacy of the world”, India has kept supplies of critical medicines and medical-grade PPE flowing to the UK. Meanwhile, the Serum Institute – which I visited on Monday – is set to produce over a billion doses of our life-saving Oxford vaccine.
There are few markets around the world that offer greater potential than India. This huge market of 1.4 billion people is already emerging as the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is expected to become the second biggest in the world by 2050, making it a crucial long-term trading partner.
Securing new opportunities will help our businesses grow by investing in their staff and commercial future, whether it is Twinings selling tea to India, Brompton selling its bicycles, or the Dunstable bakery exporting their naan bread.
We are now seeing the high-quality jobs secured from this relationship in industries key for our economic future. The Indian multinational tech firm, Tata Consultancy Services, has announced 1,500 new jobs across the UK for example, helping level up the country.
The Indian pharmaceutical giant Wockhardt has extended its contract in Wrexham, showing its long-term commitment to providing jobs in North Wales as more vaccines roll off its plant’s production line.
I am proud to be pushing on with our Enhanced Trade Partnership, which will secure more high-quality jobs as we work towards a full free trade agreement.
This comes as we build our network of advanced trade deals from the Americas to the Indo-Pacific. It now spans from South Korea to South Africa, with our negotiators striking agreements so far to cover 64 countries plus the EU – securing £889 billion in trade.
We will build on this by pursuing gold standard agreements with our close allies such as Australia and New Zealand. And I look forward to working with the United States’ newly appointed trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, to take our trading relationship to the next level.
We are realising the vision of a Global Britain – championing free trade abroad and bringing home prosperity – by seizing the opportunities available to us only as an independent trading nation. This year, we are applying to join the most dynamic trading area on Earth: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
This high-standards partnership will open near £9 trillion worth of global economies to our exporters, to the benefit of businesses across the UK from Welsh lamb farmers to Midlands carmakers and Scotch whisky producers. There are no EU-style strings attached in coupling ourselves to its eleven members, as we remain a fully sovereign nation, with no compromise on our borders, laws or money.
We are stepping up for 2021 to lead the fight for free and fair trade worldwide as president of the G7, inviting India, South Korea, and Australia as guests to bolster our alliance of democracies. We will also be rallying our like-minded allies as hosts of Cop26 in Glasgow in support of clean growth.
Together, we will create a greener and more prosperous future, while setting a new standard for modern trade in the 21st century. We will work through the G7 and at the World Trade Organisation to call out those who give trade a bad name by bending the rules, whether it is by undermining human rights through forced labour or degrading environmental standards.
We are driven a fierce belief that the best way forward for us all lies in free trade. That is why we are working together to champion our shared values, from free markets to free societies and a cleaner planet.
Free and fair trade brings us closer to our natural partners, bound by a force Richard Cobden once hailed as “the greatest revolution that ever happened in the world’s history… uniting us in the bond of eternal peace”.
Alongside fast-growing partners like India, we are paving the way to prosperity. This is Global Britain in action: beating back Covid with our friends and family worldwide so we can build back better and stronger.