UK targets post-Brexit slice of India’s £4bn luxury goods market

US-UK trade deal progress discussed by Badenoch

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Top UK brands are targeting a slice of India’s lucrative market for luxury goods, worth an estimated £4billion – with International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch saying Britain has a “huge opportunity” in the sector now that the shackles of Brexit have been removed. A first-of-its-kind kind delegation, including representatives from companies including Lush and luxury knitwear brand John Smedley, is travelling to India Fashion Forum 2023, the nation’s leading international trade fair, in Bengaluru.

The trade mission is being organised by the Department for Business and Trade in order to help established British brands showcase their expertise in luxury, heritage and innovation to potential buyers.

Ms Badenoch said: “India’s growing economy and middle class represents an enormous opportunity for enterprising UK companies looking for new markets.

“Removing barriers to business and boosting exports are two of my top trade priorities and I’m eager to make it easier and faster to do business with India through the free trade deal we’re currently negotiating.”

India is poised to become the third largest economy by 2050, at which point it will have a middle class of roughly 250 million consumers.

The Robb report, published in 2021, valued the Indian luxury goods market at more than £4.2billion, and expects it to grow by another 10 percent over the course of the next five years.

Anita Baker, Managing Director of MENA Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics said: “Lush is very happy to take part in this trade mission and we’re confident that in India, with its deep roots in natural cosmetics, we can find a partner that lives our ethics.

“India has the opportunity to be a very sizeable market and we aim to give our Indian shoppers the amazing customer experience they expect from visiting our shops around the world.”

Bill Leach, John Smedley Ltd’s Global Sales Director, said: “As India is one of the fastest growing luxury markets in the world, we are very excited to be attending the Fashion Forum as part of the trade mission.

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“It is hoped that the UK-India Free Trade Agreement that is currently being negotiated comes to fruition in the coming months, so that a growing number of discerning luxury consumers in India will enjoy greater access to the world’s finest knitwear.”

Negotiations are ongoing on a wide-ranging trade deal with India, with the nations already enjoying a current trade relationship worth £34billion as of September 2022.

The deal, which is expected to boost the UK economy by billions in the longer term, is part of the UK’s strategy to forge stronger partnerships with fast-growing economies in the Indo-Pacific, which represents 40 percent of global GDP and has some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The UK is targeting an agreement which slashes barriers to doing business and trading with India’s £2trillion economy and market of 1.4 billion consumers, including cutting tariffs on exports for British businesses such as Lush and John Smedley.

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