The United Kingdom (UK) on May 25, 2021, kickstarted 14-week consultation preparation for trade negotiations with India to seek views from the public and businesses.
UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss said, “We are 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 whiskey, cars, and services.”
UK International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena said, “India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.” A trade deal between India and the UK will help secure more investment, higher wages, better jobs, lower prices, and more choices, Jayawardena further added.
Prior to the negotiations, India and the UK must conclude a 14-week pre-negotiation phase that deals with consultations with the public and businesses. The consultations will run till August 31, 2021, comprises a questionnaire that will aid in collecting information from participants about their priorities and experiences while doing business with India.
The consultation follows the Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) that was agreed at a virtual meeting between India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on May 4, 2021, where they had launched a ‘2030 Roadmap’, a framework for UK-India relations.
UK-India trade deal: Key points
•UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on May 4, 2021, had announced a new UK-India trade deal worth 1 billion pounds that expects to create more than 6,500 job opportunities in the UK.
•A virtual meeting between India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on May 4, 2021, unveiled a new ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP)’ that aims to remove trade barriers and restrictions between India and the UK.
•A press release by the British High Commission (BHC) stated that a free trade deal between India and the UK will remove trade barriers from doing business with India, including removal of tariffs up to 125 per cent on cars manufactured in the UK and up to 150 per cent on whiskey.
•The release further stated that UK aims to help the service sector to achieve ease of doing business in India and help the UK gain the status of an international services hub.
•The UK aims to cater to the youth and middle-income population in India as their target consumers for the goods and services it produces.
•The trade deal between India and the UK will give rise to opportunities in science and services, boost trade for industries like whiskey, and create more jobs across the country.
•India is the largest market that the UK has ever gotten into negotiating a trade deal with.