English apples score a UK-India trade first in 50 years

English apples score a UK-India trade first in 50 years

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has hailed the export of apples from a farm in south-east England to India as a sign of the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership in action.

Liz Truss took to Twitter over the weekend to point out that the export marks a first for the UK-India trade relationship in 50 years, in her response to a tweet by UK trade minister Ranil Jayawardena sharing details of his visit to the AC Goatham and Son apple farm in Kent.

“Our apples are now on the way to India for the first time in 50 years thanks to the Enhanced Trade Partnership,” said Truss.

The Enhanced Trade Partnership, seen as a precursor to a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA), was agreed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their virtual summit in May. It was followed up by Truss and Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal formally signing the agreement, setting a target to double UK-India bilateral trade by 2030.

“India is an outlet that we've looked at for a number of years but unfortunately we were precluded at the time because of a ban running back to the 70s,” AC Goatham and Son co-owner Ross Goatham told the UK Department for International Trade (DIT).

“With the announcements made the other week of the trade deal, we were pretty much straight on the front foot and I think we've had about 20 Indian firms contact us recently, asking can they buy our apples,” he said.

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The trade minister, Ranil Jayawardena, during his visit to the farm noted that the move reflected the government’s post-Brexit strategy of expanding Britain's export markets.

“The fact that we have taken back control of our trade policy means real benefits for British farmers and for British food growers and for all British industry, frankly,” he said.

“Another barrier brought down. Our apples can be exported to India for the first time in over 50 years,” he added.

In May, the UK government launched a 14-week consultation to seek views of the public and business before formal negotiations on a UK-India FTA begin later this year. The UK says it wants a deal with India 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 per cent on whisky and 125 per cent on British-made cars, among other products.

According to DIT, the aim of an FTA with India is also to make it easier for British services firms to operate in the Indian market, boosting the UK’s status as an international services hub.

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