UK and India another step closer to securing trade deal

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Round seven of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United Kingdom and the Republic of India have now taken place.

The EU has been trying for years to reach a meaningful deal with India, with little success.

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India will be a a major prize for the UK post-Brexit and a crucial element in strengthening relations with democracies in the region as a counterweight to China.

Technical discussions were held across 11 policy areas over 43 separate sessions. They included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these policy areas.

As with previous rounds, this was conducted in a hybrid fashion where a number of Indian officials travelled to London for negotiations and others attended virtually.

The UK-India trade deal will also support hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost the economies of both the UK and India by potentially lowering or removing current tariffs such as those of up to 150% on items such as whisky and up to 125% on cars and other British products. It would also create huge benefits for British services – 4 out of 5 of India’s fastest-growing imports are for services like IP and telecommunications.

In January Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said one her top five priorities for trade was to:

“Seal high quality deals with India and CPTPP – they have a combined population of nearly 2 billion consumers – opening exciting opportunities in fast-growing markets for years to come.

“That’s essentially a quarter of the world’s population in two huge deals, meaning companies such as Coventry-based driverless car manufacturer, Aurrigo, could benefit on its exports to huge markets in Vietnam and Japan.

“But I want to be clear that just signing on the dotted line is not the objective. These deals will only be agreed if they are the right deals for the people of this country. Bringing in jobs and investment to left-behind communities and capitalising on those areas in which we specialise.”

The EU has been trying for years to reach a meaningful deal with India, with little success. The eighth round of UK and India’s negotiations are due to take place later this Spring.

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