UK-India trade deal includes COVID vaccine investment

Britain has announced 1 billion pounds ($1.4 billions) of new trade and investment with India, including a deal with the Serum Institute of India to aid in the development of vaccines to combat COVID-19 and other diseases

The announcement came ahead of a video meeting Tuesday between Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi, who are expected to agree on deeper cooperation that could pave the way for a free-trade agreement between their countries.

The British government is seeking to increase trade with countries outside the European Union following the U.K.'s departure from the bloc. It said the trade and investment deals announced late Monday are expected to create more than 6,500 jobs in the U.K.

The package includes a 240 million-pound investment in the U.K. by the Serum Institute, the world’s biggest vaccine-maker, that will support clinical trials, research and possibly vaccine production, the British government said in a statement. The Serum Institute, in collaboration with Codagenix, has started early-stage trials of a one-dose nasal vaccine against COVID-19.

Trade between the U.K. and India totals about 23 billion pounds annually, less than 5% of Britain’s trade with the EU.