Tue, 17 May 2022

NEW DELHI, India: The first day of talks between the UK and India on a potential free trade agreement took place in New Delhi, aimed at the eventual signing of an agreement by the end of the year which could boost trade by billions of British pounds.

In a joint statement, Piyush Goyal, Indian trade minister, and his UK counterpart, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said a limited agreement could be implemented in the next few months.

As it aims to tap into fast-growing economies, the UK is prioritizing a post-Brexit deal with India.

"This is an opportunity that we must seize to steer our partnership along the track of mutual prosperity for the decades to come," said Trevelyan.

According to the UK, the agreement could almost double its exports to India and boost total annual trade between the two countries by £28 billion by 2035, compared to £23 billion in 2019.

India wants more opportunities for Indians to live and work in the UK, and any trade deal could involve negotiations on relaxing rules and lowering fees for Indian students and professionals.

However, Goyal said India will not make such issues a condition for a trade deal, stating, "Nothing is necessarily a deal-breaker in this agreement. And I will not think there is any way for anybody to worry about issues which are sensitive to any country, because both sides have agreed that sensitive issues are not our priority."

UK government ministers want India to purchase more UK green technology and British services, as well as enable British firms to sell more products, such as whiskey, to India.

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