London:

Britain and India will start formal no cost trade deal talks later this year, the UK government mentioned Tuesday, soon after they agreed an initial package to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

With its enormous population and increasing economy, India has been higher on London’s list of trade deal targets due to the fact Britain left the European Union last year.

Under a post-Brexit “Global Britain” technique, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is pivoting its foreign policy priorities towards the Asia-Pacific area, signing trade bargains with nations such as Japan and Singapore.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss mentioned India and Britain would get started negotiations on an agreement “in the autumn”, following the announcement of a preliminary “Enhanced Trade Partnership” deal.

“We want to get these negotiations completed as soon as possible,” she told Sky News through a round of broadcast interviews touting the partnership package worth 1 billion ($1.4 billion, 1.2 billion euros).

“Of course, FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) take longer, this is the immediate gains that we can get for both countries, driving jobs here in Britain and in India,” Truss added.

She mentioned each nations have been hunting for “early wins” decreasing barriers to trade from an FTA, noting Britain desires tariffs lowered or removed on many exports to India, from automobiles to whiskey.

The comments come ahead of virtual talks involving Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Tuesday.

That follows Johnson postponing for a second time an official go to to India last month, due to the worsening coronavirus circumstance.

‘Self-Reliant India’

The partnership announcement with India incorporates reduced trade barriers for some UK exports such as fruit and healthcare devices.

It also incorporates investment in Britain by vaccine maker the Serum Institute of India, which could at some point see more of its inoculations made in the UK.

Johnson’s workplace mentioned it expects the deal preceding FTA talks to build more than 6,500 jobs.

But there are indicators India might be reluctant to sign a more wide-ranging trade pact, as PM Modi pushes “Made in India” and “Self-Reliant India” agendas.

Last year PM Modi abruptly baulked at joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a no cost trade agreement amongst 15 Asia-Pacific nations, mainly because New Delhi feared its agricultural, dairy and services sectors would be disadvantaged.

Former US president Donald Trump disparaged India as the “tariff king” for its duties on imported goods, hobbling trade talks in spite of his friendly relations with PM Modi.

Talks are due to resume involving India and the EU on a no cost-trade deal later this month, eight years soon after 16 rounds of talks broke up in deadlock.

Trade negotiations are also reportedly set to resume with Canada quickly soon after a gap of 4 years.


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