UK and India in discussion on trade agreement after Brexit

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine): Following the exit from the EU, Britain turns to India to negotiate terms of a new trade deal that is expected to mutually benefit the two countries.

Among the most ambitious negotiations to take effect after Brexit, India and the United Kingdom have begun talks on pursuing a free trade agreement that is anticipated to enhance bilateral trade by billions of dollars.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, International Trade Secretary of Britain, is in New Delhi to meet with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles, Piyush Goyal. Officials have stated that actual negotiations will begin next week.

Both parties expect that the agreement will assist a variety of industries, ranging from food and beverage to cutting-edge renewable technology.

According to a British government statement, the treaty could quadruple UK exports to India and improve two-way trade by $38 billion (€33.2 billion) each year by 2035.

A deal with India is a fantastic opportunity to put UK businesses ahead of the line as the economy of India continues to rapidly grow,” said Trevalyan , adding that Britain was eager to tap into the growing middle class of the third-largest economy of Asia.

Her visit reflects Britain’s intentions, following its exit from the European Union in 2016, to focus its trade policies in the Indo-Pacific region. Given the uncertainty surrounding China’s relations, India, which was previously a British colony, is seen as a favourable option.

According to the statement, Indian enterprises already support 95,000 jobs in the UK.

Britain is pursuing a deal that lowers the barriers for doing business and trade, such as lowering tariffs on British-made automobiles and Scotch whisky exports.

Trevelyan said “everything is on the table to consider” in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper on Thursday, including expanding visa access for Indian students and skilled employees. She stated that she hopes to get a contract in place by early 2023.

India and Britain are focusing on five main areas, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry: trade, climate action, health, defence and security , and people-to-people relations.

The two countries have strong ties, with India investing in 120 projects in 2019 thus becoming the second-largest source of foreign direct investment following the US. In 2019-20, trade between the two nations was $15.45 billion (€13.5 billion).