UK kickstarts preparation for trade deal negotiation with India

Published: May 25,2021 01:38 PM

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UK kickstarted the 14-week consultation preparation on Tuesday for trade negotiations with India

May 25, 2021: UK kickstarted the 14-week consultation preparation on Tuesday for trade negotiations with India to seek views from the businesses and public.

Starting off the preparations for a trade deal with India, UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss said, “We’re firing the starting gun on a free trade deal with India – the world’s largest democracy, fifth biggest economy, a nation of 1.4 billion people and a huge market for British goods like whisky, cars and services.”

She further added, “We want an agreement that pushes new frontiers in industries of the future and helps us build a greener, more innovative and more services-led economy that will deliver higher-paying jobs across the country.”

Meanwhile UK International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena said, “India is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and we share much in common, so we’re natural partners. A trade deal will break down barriers, much in common, making it easier for British businesses to sell their wares in India – and secure more investment, better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices here at home.”

The deal is expected to open new opportunities for various industries such as whisky and boost trade in science and services which will create job opportunities in the country.

According to a British High Commission (BHC) release, the UK wants a deal that will slash barriers to doing business and trading with India’s 2 trillion pound economy and market of 1,4 billion customers. This will include removing tariffs of up to 150 per cent on whisky and 125 per cent on British-made cars.

The statement further mentioned that wide input from customers and businesses across all sectors will help the UK craft a deal that includes closer cooperation in future-focused industries such as science, technology and services and creating high-value jobs across the country. The formal negotiations are expected to begin later this year.

Before negotiations start, the UK and India must complete a pre-negotiation scoping phase - a period of engagement with businesses and the public. The public consultation, which runs to August 31, includes a questionnaire that will gather information from participants about their experiences and priorities when doing business with India, read the statement.

The consultation follows the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) agreed at the virtual meeting between the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on May 4, where they launched a '2030 Roadmap', which will provide a framework for UK-India relations.

The partnership sets the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declares the two countries' shared intent to begin work towards negotiations on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.