New trade deal opens India market

Adrian Fisher MBE is the Founder of Adrian Fisher Design Ltd, the world’s number one maze company, which has created over 700 mazes across 42 countries since 1979. The company is based in Durweston.

Over the years our company has tried to export mirror mazes from southern England into Brazil (46% import duty) and India (37% import duty). Unsurprisingly, we sometimes could not compete on price in India, even though we have succeeded a few times.

This is what makes the forthcoming trade deal with India negotiated by Liz Truss, our brilliant Minister for International Trade, so significant.

For the past 45 years, there has never been a trade deal between India and the EU because of the French veto. Since January 2021 the way is clear to achieve a trade deal between India and the UK (population 68m) with protectionist tariffs removed. The Indian population is 1,366 million, of which about 300 million have as high a standard of living as the EU (population 380 million).

India has been building typically 50 new airport runways a year, though perhaps not during the pandemic. It’s a nation on the move! We share many common values, of democracy, the English language, basis of English law, similar business approach, the principles of Free Speech and Habeus Corpus, railways, and longstanding historic, educational and cultural ties.

The Pacific Rim contains many of the world’s fast-growing economies, with countries such as Singapore having a higher standard of living than the UK. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has 11 member countries, representing 13.4% of world trade. Over the years, our maze company has exported to 9 of these: Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam (but not yet Brunei and Peru). All the better once the UK has joined the CPTPP.

In December 2020, the Taiwanese government stated that it would submit an application to join the CPTTP following the conclusion of informal consultations with its existing members. Under President Biden, it is likely that the USA will resume its membership. There is a real desire and enthusiasm in these countries to trade with the UK.

Our exports in this region have ranged from projects at the Singapore Science Centre and Singapore Airport; at Tobu Zoo, Huis Ten Bosch Theme Park and the Tokyo Domein Japan; a hedge maze in Mexico; landscape mazes in Australia and Canada; mirror mazes in Vietnam and Chile; two hedge mazes in South Korea; and puzzle exhibitions in New Zealand.

Typically, the first sale in a new country triggers off further enquiries, and this is how we achieved seven mirror mazes in Japan and four in Mexico. With Zoom, it costs nothing to do business anywhere in the world. The UK Department for International Trade (UK DIT) is one of the finest organisations of its kind in the world. Contact them, and then start exporting worldwide!

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