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Gopichand Hinduja Condemns Brexit, Backs UK's Efforts to Forge New Trade Partnerships
India Offers Strong Trade Partnership for Post-Brexit UK
Gopichand Hinduja, the chairman of Indian conglomerate the Hinduja Group, expressed his disapproval of the UK's departure from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit. However, he supported Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's efforts to revitalize the UK's struggling economy. Hinduja believes that the UK's pursuit of new trade partnerships, such as the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, will provide a much-needed boost for the country and reaffirm its status as an excellent place to invest.
India's Economy as a Key Contributor
According to Hinduja, none of the trade partnerships that the UK is pursuing will be as valuable as its forthcoming free trade agreement with India. He argues that India's economy, projected to become the third-largest in the world by 2027, will be instrumental in supporting the UK's economic growth. Hinduja has even revised his earlier growth projection for India's economy, moving it forward to 2030 based on his instincts and experiences.
Challenges in UK-India FTA Negotiations
The UK and India recently concluded their 11th round of negotiations for a free trade agreement. However, these negotiations have faced setbacks due to differences on major tariff lines and investment protection rules. Hinduja, although not directly involved in the negotiations, highlighted bureaucracy as the biggest problem. Despite this, he believes that the ultimate benefits of the UK-India FTA will extend to various sectors such as technology, infrastructure, health, education, and defense.
Hinduja Group's Long-Term Belief in the UK
Gopichand Hinduja reassured that his conglomerate, the Hinduja Group, remains committed to investing in the UK despite recent economic challenges. He emphasized their long-term perspective and determination, mentioning that none of their businesses have closed or been unsuccessful in the UK. Hinduja expressed confidence in the UK's economic future and its potential for growth.
Government's Efforts to Boost the UK Economy
Hinduja acknowledged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's five-point economic plan, which includes measures to combat inflation, stimulate economic growth, reduce debt, address NHS waiting lists, and control immigration. While acknowledging the challenges faced by Sunak, who comes from a financial background, Hinduja believes that the Prime Minister is on the right track to improve the UK's economic outlook.
The UK's Economic Challenges
The UK has been facing economic sluggishness, with only 0.1% growth in the first quarter of 2023. Factors such as rising interest rates, high inflation, and a chaotic "mini-budget" have contributed to this slowdown. Hinduja highlighted that these factors were largely outside of the government's control, including events like Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, he emphasized the government's efforts to address these challenges and expressed confidence in the Prime Minister's ability to overcome them.
Upcoming General Election and Political Landscape
As the Tory party currently lags behind the opposition Labour Party in the polls, with a 17-point deficit, the upcoming general election will be a crucial moment for the UK's political landscape. The election is scheduled to be held no later than January 28, 2025. The results of the election will shape the country's direction and have a significant impact on its economic policies and relationships with global partners.