London, May 3 (PTI) Harjinder Kang, Britain’s Chief Negotiator for the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) was on Wednesday named as the country’s new Trade Commissioner to South Asia and Deputy High Commissioner for Western India.
Kang, who will succeed Alan Gemmell as Deputy High Commissioner, will play a pivotal role in supporting the implementation of the FTA expected to bring huge opportunities for UK businesses, according to the British government.
India and the UK have held nine rounds of discussions since the FTA talks began over a year ago in January 2022, with a goal towards a comprehensive pact that is expected to significantly enhance the bilateral trading relationship worth an estimated GBP 34 billion last year.
“I am delighted to welcome Harjinder to this role. He has been an integral part of our India trade deal negotiating team, and I’m confident he will use that experience to build on our outstanding track record on trade in South Asia, expanding opportunities for British businesses in untapped markets,” said UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.
Trade Commissioners lead the UK’s overseas effort to promote trade, investment, trade policy and export finance. They are expected to generate business opportunities for the UK while contributing to the growth of sustainable, resilient, and productive economies across respective regions associated with their roles.
“It is an honour to be appointed as Trade Commissioner for South Asia and Deputy High Commissioner for Western India, both vibrant and growing regions which are pivotal to the UK’s security and prosperity,” said Kang.
“I am deeply committed to fostering strong relationships between the UK and South Asia and am excited about the opportunities ahead as we strengthen our economic ties and forge new partnerships in the region to create jobs, promote innovation and drive economic growth at home and abroad,” he said.
He will be succeeded in the role of the UK’s Chief Negotiator for the India-UK FTA by Kate Thornley, previously Deputy Chief Negotiator.
With an economy worth over GBP 3.2 trillion and a growing population, a flourishing trade and investment relationship with South Asia holds vast potential for UK businesses and consumers, the UK Department for Business and Trade said.
Before joining the Department for Business and Trade, Kang spent nearly 30 years at British-Swedish bio-pharma multinational AstraZeneca, later becoming the Global Commercial Director, focusing on creating affordable solutions for pharmaceutical access in less developed regions. He is also a member of the Council of the University of Birmingham.