UK looks for greater share in India auto sector under FTA: Official

Source : PTI | Countries which are negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) with India, including the UK, want a greater share in the country’s fast-growing automobile sector , Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said on Friday. He said that India has come to the centre stage of auto manufacturing not only in assembling but also in the whole value chain.

The industry has strengthened itself in all areas, including making auto grade steel, components and tyres, besides exporting these goods, he said.

The auto sector is now being shifting from conventional ICE (internal combustion engines) to Electric Vehicle (EV) battery-based systems.

“When we look at our present strength and the future potential in India, I think it is going to be huge.

“In fact when we are doing our FTAs, I remember that country after country, they are focusing on how they can get a pie out of the Indian automobile sector and when we are negotiating FTA with the UK…saying that this much of market share should be available to them (the UK) through the FTA,” he added.

The UK is seeking duty concessions in the auto sector, particularly in the EV segment. The talks are in the last phase.

The secretary added that India is also focusing on value chains, including de-risking the value chains.

“No country wants to put all their eggs in one basket, so we are looking for diversification,” he said, adding that the three-day Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024 will play an important role in that.

Speaking at an event, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal asked the industry to target exporting at least 50 per cent of vehicles which are made in India.

At present, 14 per cent of vehicles which are made in India are exported and the ambition of the industry is 25 per cent, he said, adding that it should be at least 50 per cent.

Half the cars, vehicles, commercial vehicles, two-wheelers, passenger cars, and EVs that “we make have to go across the world,” Goyal said.

He added that India’s arbitrage on scale, large domestic market, labour, technology skills, high managerial talent, and skilled manpower, provide no reason why India does not have at least a 50 per cent share of exports in the auto sector.

The minister and secretary were speaking at the curtain raiser event of the expo, which will start on February 1 at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi.

Goyal encouraged the industry stakeholders to adopt a proactive approach to seize opportunities in the global economy, emphasising the vast potential for Indian businesses to capture large world markets.

He also underlined the significance of these mega exhibitions, noting their international scale and ambition.

The exhibitions aim to present India’s strengths to the global market and position the country as an international player across industries.

With over 600 exhibitors from 50 countries, the expo will highlight cutting-edge technologies and breakthroughs in mobility.

The features of the expo will include specialised exhibitions such as auto show (including electric and hybrid vehicles), ACMA Automechanika, large-scale tyre exhibition, urban mobility solutions (two wheelers/e-bikes, drones), EV Infra Pavilion (including charging stations and battery swapping) and other energy sources like hydrogen in the mobility landscape.

More than 27 leading vehicle manufacturers are set to unveil new models and EVs.

Automotive players, both international and domestic, will be showcasing their electric, hybrid, CNG and biofuel-powered vehicles.

Along with vehicle manufacturers, the event will have more than 400 auto component manufacturers, and over 1,000 brands from more than 13 global markets, displaying their entire range of products, technologies, and services.

Countries such as Japan, Germany, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand will have dedicated country pavilions, while there will be additional international participation from the US, Spain, the UAE, Russia, Italy, Turkiye, Singapore and Belgium.

The event will also see a large participation from major international and Indian battery manufacturers and battery supply chain and recycling companies.

More than 10 leading companies will also be showcasing EV infrastructure services, including charging stations and battery-swapping solutions during the event.

One of the highlights of the event will be the CEO Conclave, where leaders will gather to deliberate on the future trajectory of the mobility industry.

NASSCOM will showcase India as a powerhouse for automotive software capabilities, advanced technology capabilities and innovation ecosystem.