The first day of negotiations between India and Britain over possible free trade agreements in New Delhi has concluded.
By the end, an agreement should be in place that can boost trade by millions of pounds.
Piyush Goyal, the Indian trade minister, and Anne-Marie Trevelyan, his counterpart in the UK, said that there might be some agreement within the next few months.
In order to gain access to fast-growing economies, the UK has prioritized a post Brexit deal with India.
Ms Trevelyan stated, “This is an occasion that we must seize in order to steer our partnership on the track of mutual success for the future decades,”
Britain said the deal could almost double British exports to India, and boost total trade between the countries by £28bn per year by 2035. Total trade in 2019 was worth £23bn.
India trade negotiations are not for the weak-hearted.
However, with no sign of progress towards a free trade agreement with the US and little to be expected in the near future, Thursday’s formal announcement in New Delhi by the UK government launching talks with India is the largest negotiation that the UK government will initiate this year.
India has the potential to be third in world economic growth by 2050. UK-India trade is expected to double during this decade.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Trade Secretary to India, calls India’s prospect of free trade “a golden opportunity”, and there are huge commercial rewards up for grabs.
India has had so many vulnerable and vested interests to guard, it is reluctant to openly liberalize.
With little success, the EU tried for many years to strike a deal with India. Australia, too has worked on a deal over the past decade.
It is particularly challenging to do business in areas like government procurement and trade-in services.
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India seeks more opportunities to reside and work in Britain. Trade deals could also include terms to ease restrictions and reduce fees for Indian students, professionals, and others who travel to Britain.
But, Goyal stated that neither country will make these issues necessary for any trade agreement.
Goyal stated that “nothing in this agreement is necessarily a dealbreaker.” “I don’t believe there are any ways for anybody to worry or concern about sensitive topics in any country. Both sides have said that these sensitive matters are not their priority,” he stated.
Ministers from the UK want British companies to have more opportunities to export whisky to India.
India should also be a larger buyer for UK green technology, British services and products.
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