Kemi Badenoch has reiterated that a free trade agreement (FTA) with India is one of the priorities in her expanded role as UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade and said her newly merged department is pursuing a “great trade deal” with India.
With reference to the ongoing negotiations for the UK’s accession into the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Cabinet minister said the move also ties in with the Rishi Sunak led government’s commitment towards the Indo-Pacific region.
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In a statement at the Legatum Institute think tank in London this week, Badenoch said: “It’s [CPTPP] not just about exporting goods or even services. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is also about the geostrategic shift to the Indo-Pacific as set out in the government’s Integrated Review and this really matters for our long-term security.
“It also matters for our long-term growth – this is where the global middle class of the future will come from and we need to be a player.
“That’s also why we’re pursuing a great trade deal with India. A deal to cut tariffs and open opportunities for UK services, making it easier for British businesses to sell to an economy set to be the world’s third largest by 2050.”
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Badenoch was in New Delhi at the end of last year to kick off the sixth round of UK-India FTA talks, which was followed by the negotiating teams meeting in London for round seven. The eighth round of negotiations is scheduled in New Delhi later this month, with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who is in India this week for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, also reaffirming the country’s commitment to conclude the agreement.
The latest statistics peg UK-India bilateral trade as worth £34 billion in 2022, growing by £10 billion in one year.