UK launches consultation round in run-up to FTA talks

By: |
May 26, 2021 4:30 AM

The consultation follows the Enhanced Trade Partnership agreed at the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Bris Johnson on 4 May, where they launched a ‘2030 Roadmap’ which will provide a framework for UK-India relations.

The public consultation, which runs to August 31, includes a questionnaire that will gather information from participants about their experiences and priorities when doing business with India.The public consultation, which runs to August 31, includes a questionnaire that will gather information from participants about their experiences and priorities when doing business with India.

The UK has launched formal preparations for a free-trade agreement with India which will open new opportunities for various industries and boost bilateral trade in science and services and thereby job creation. The consultation follows the Enhanced Trade Partnership agreed at the virtual meeting between the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Bris Johnson on 4 May, where they launched a ‘2030 Roadmap’ which will provide a framework for UK-India relations.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss started preparations on Tuesday for a trade deal with India with the launch of a 14-week consultation to seek the views of the public and businesses, in a run-up to the formal negotiations for a UK-India FTA aiming to start in autumn. “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,” a statement from the British High Commission said.

Before negotiations start, the UK and India must complete a pre-negotiation scoping phase – a period of engagement with businesses and the public. The public consultation, which runs to August 31, includes a questionnaire that will gather information from participants about their experiences and priorities when doing business with India.

The UK and India are seeking to double trade between their two countries by 2030, up from about 23 billion pounds ($33 billion) in 2019. The ETP creates opportunities for British businesses in India across industries such as food and drink and life sciences by improving market access. Non-tariff barriers on fruit and medical devices will be reduced, allowing businesses to export more of their products to India.

The statement from BHC also said that the UK aims to make it easier for services firms to operate in the Indian market, boosting the UK’s status as an international services hub. India’s growing middle-income population and highly connected youth will be the target consumers for the type of goods and services the UK excels in. The consultation on the potential accord will focus on wide input from consumers and businesses across all sectors and will help the UK craft a deal that includes closer cooperation in future-focused industries such as science, technology and services, creating high-value jobs across the country.

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