• Friday, March 01, 2024


Britain trading on India Fashion Forum to target luxury market

By: Eastern Eye Staff

COSMETICS retailer Lush and luxury knitwear brand John Smedley are among top UK fashion and beauty brands that have embarked on a first-of-its-kind trade mission to India to tap into a growing demand for high-end products in the country.

The business and trade secretary, Kemi Badenoch, said she was keen to make it easier for such companies to do business with India, as her department threw its weight behind the British delegation to India Fashion Forum 2023 in Bangalore.

Badenoch is leading the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with India.

The UK mission was organised by the Department for Business and Trade, newly created as a merged trade and business ministry by prime minister Rishi Sunak.

“India’s growing economy and middle class represent an enormous opportunity for enterprising UK companies looking for new markets,” Badenoch said on Monday (27).

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

According to the UK government, negotiations continue on a “forward-facing trade deal with India”.

Both countries have a trade relationship worth £34 billion as estimated up to the year ending
September 2022.

British business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch
British business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Department for Business and Trade said, “The [FTA] deal, expected to boost the UK economy by billions over the longer term, is part of the UK’s strategy to forge stronger partnerships with fast growing economies in the Indo-Pacific.

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

The luxury lifestyle publication the Robb Report said in 2021 that the Indian luxury goods market was valued at more than $5 billion (4.14bn), and it is expected to grow by another 10 per cent over the next five years.

“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,” said Anita Baker of Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics.

“India has the opportunity to be a very sizable market. We aim to give our Indian shoppers the amazing customer experience they expect from visiting our shops around the world,” she added.

Analysis by the UK government showed that India will become the third-largest economy by 2050, by which time it will have a middle class of 250 million consumers.

“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,” said Bill Leach, the global sales director for John Smedley Ltd.

“It is hoped the UK-India FTA 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,” he said.

During the India Fashion Forum in Bangalore, the British brands are keen to showcase their expertise in luxury, heritage and innovation to potential buyers and distributors in the Indian market.

Other companies participating in the delegation include fashion brands Wormser, Organic Apoteke, Lilly and Sid, Legology, Benny Hancock, VENIA Cosmetic Ltd, Jennifer Young Ltd and ByErim Ltd.

According to official UK government data, India accounts for 1.7 per cent of total UK exports. The country was the 12th-largest UK export market in the four quarters until the end of the third quarter of 2022.

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