UK to start negotiations for trade agreement with India this year


The United Kingdom is presently in the pre-negotiation scoping phase of a Free Trade Agreement and it plans on initiating negotiations for a trade agreement with India by the end of the year.

“We are currently in the pre-negotiation scoping phase of an FTA (free trade agreement), with the aim of starting negotiations by the end of this year,” shared a spokesperson for Britain’s Department for International Trade.

“With bilateral trade valued at 23 billion pounds ($31.60 billion) in 2019, a trade deal with India will help boost British exports through lower tariffs and increased investment opportunities,” the spokesperson said.

A trade agreement with India will be a crucial target for post-Brexit Britain. The country has been looking at securing trade deals ever since it exited from the European Union.

It is pursuing ties with nations in the Indo-Pacific region, home to some of the fastest-growing economies.

Britain’s City AM newspaper revealed that the UK government was looking at bringing to a close a quick “interim” trade deal with India, which could see tariffs nosedive on products like Scotch whisky before a full agreement is agreed upon.

Britain will try to strike an interim accord that would allow for free trade between the two countries under the terms of a World Trade Organisation charter, the newspaper reported.

With the coming of the FTA, Indian producers of things like rice could get greater access to the UK market under the interim deal, the newspaper said.

Britain said late in May it was launching a 14-week consultation on a future trade deal with India, seeking the views of the public and businesses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson who was supposed to visit Delhi in April this year had to call off his visit after the rise of the second wave of the deadly coronavirus.

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