“The UK and India are already close friends and trading partners, and building on that strong relationship is a priority for 2022,” declared UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, ahead of her visit to New Delhi this week.
She said: “I will be using my visit to drive forward an ambitious trade agenda which represents the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action and shows how we are seizing global opportunities as an independent trading nation.
“This is just the start of a five-star year of UK trade, forging closer economic partnerships around the globe and negotiating deals that work for businesses, families and consumers in every part of the UK.”
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The minister is on her way to formally launch free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in India, where she is scheduled for bilateral talks with her Indian counterpart, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. The ministers are expected to discuss a range of issues, including green trade and the removal of market access barriers for both UK and Indian businesses, and will also confirm the launch of UK-India FTA negotiations, the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) said.
They will co-host the 15th UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) to review how businesses in both countries are benefiting from existing market access commitments under the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership agreed last May by Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi.
Trevelyan will also meet several Indian Cabinet ministers to discuss closer bilateral cooperation, including External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
“This highlights the ongoing wider strategic importance of the UK-India bilateral relationship which extends beyond trade,” the DIT said.
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A site visit to British manufacturing firm JCB to talk about how manufacturing and engineering firms could hugely benefit from the UK-India trade deal is also on the cards in New Delhi, as is a Defence Industry roundtable hosted alongside Indian Defence Secretary, Dr Ajay Kumar, to promote future UK-India defence collaboration and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
According to latest DIT figures, total trade in goods and services between the UK and India was £23.3 billion in 2019, making India the UK’s 15th largest trading partner.
A new trade agreement is expected to play a key role in achieving the target set for doubling bilateral trade by 2030.