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Enablers and Obstacles to UK-India Trade

Enablers and Obstacles to UK-India Trade is an ESRC-ICSSR funded project in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI, UK).

It aims to understand key enablers and obstacles to UK-India bilateral trade by gathering primary data on supply chains and bank credit for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India.

The project will address two primary research questions:

  1. How do export-oriented MSMEs access credit, and how is their propensity to export shaped by this?
  2. What is the role of social networks, including those between the Indian diaspora and exporters in India, in shaping MSME inclusion within export supply chains?

By addressing these questions, the project intends to provide evidence for policy-makers and businesses in both India and the UK on how to manage the changing business environment against an ongoing Brexit and rising global protectionism that has implications for both the UK-India and UK-EU relations.


  • Analyse existing data and gather new primary data to understand the following, with a special focus on UK-India trade
  • The extent and impact of credit constraints on export activity of Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
  • How firm and owners’ characteristics (e.g. gender and caste) shape access to credit
  • The role of formal and informal networks in enabling MSMEs to internationalize and support export activities
  • How networks and access to credit shape supply-chain integration of Indian MSMEs


A combination of econometric analysis and qualitative analysis of new and existing data sources. The project will undertake a survey of Indian MSMEs to gather data on access to credit, participation in formal and informal networks, export activity, and a host of firm characteristics.

We will also conduct qualitative interviews with the owners of a subset of surveyed MSMEs to understand their participation and perceptions of formal and informal networks, and how these support their economic and export activities.

The project will also host seminars and panel events with policymakers, academics and industry figures to create knowledge and awareness of key issues concerning UK-India trade, and in particular the role of MSMEs therein.


  • Policymakers in the UK and India
  • Industry figures including Indian MSMEs and related ecosystems
  • Academics working on topics including trade, small firms, credit and social networks

Our Partners


Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B)


Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator


  • Kamini Gupta

    Lecturer in International Business & Comparative Management (ICBM)


Funding Body: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Amount: 406,019

Period: May 2021 - May 2024

Funding Body: Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)

Amount: 234,8000

Period: May 2021 - May 2024