UK seeks views from public, businesses on free trade ties with India
From：Taipei World Trade Center Liaison Office In Kolkata
The United Kingdom has launched a 14-week consultation to seek views from the public and businesses for trade deal with India. While negotiations for a UK-India free trade agreement is aimed to start in autumn, these consultations are “to ensure a deal is tailored to UK interests”.
Britain’s International 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.”
The UK wants a deal that slashes barriers to doing business and trading with India’s £2 trillion economy and market of 1.4 billion consumers. This includes removing tariffs of up to 150% on whisky and 125% on British-made cars.
Nearly half a million jobs are supported across India and the UK through investments in each other’s economies.
She 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.”
Inputs are being sought from consumers and businesses across all sectors to widen the ambit of cooperation which would include cooperation in future-focused industries such as science, technology and services, creating high-value jobs across the country.
The UK also aims to make it easier for services firms to operate in the Indian market, boosting the UK’s status as an international services hub.
International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena said, “A trade deal will break down barriers, 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 press release also noted that the UK and India would have to complete a pre-negotiation scoping phase a period of engagement with businesses and the public, before negotiations begin later this year.
The public consultation which will run till August 31, would include a questionnaire that will gather information from participants about their experiences and priorities when doing business with India.
The consultation follows the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) agreed at the virtual meeting between the Prime Minister and PM Modi on May 4, where they launched a ‘2030 Roadmap’ as a framework for UK-India relations, which will help create immediate opportunities for British businesses in India across industries such as food and drink and life sciences by improving market access.