India trade deal ‘not possible’ without Brexit says Liz Truss
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Ms Truss is set to be joined on the trip by the outgoing Chief of Defence Staff General Nick Carter as the UK looks to strengthen bilateral relations with New Delhi. Talks with officials in India are set to focus on strategies in the Indo-Pacific region, the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan and increasing trade between London and New Delhi.
Ms Truss, who was promoted to one of the Great Offices of State after starring as the International Trade Secretary, will hope to push ahead with an interim trade agreement with India.
The UK and India began consultations towards a wider free trade deal in May and it is understood formal discussions could begin next month.
Britain wants to slash barriers to trade with India by removing expensive tariffs on exports, including on whiskey and cars.
Trade between London and New Delhi was estimated to be worth around £23billion in 2019 and both sides want this doubled by 2030, according to the Department for International Trade.
Speaking at the launch of the 14-week consultation period, Ms Truss said: “We’re firing the starting gun on a free trade deal with India – the world’s largest democracy, fifth biggest economy, a nation of 1.4 billion people and a huge market for British goods like whisky, cars and services.
“We want an agreement that pushes new frontiers in industries of the future and helps us build a greener, more innovative and more services-led economy that will deliver higher-paying jobs across the country.”
Brexit Britain has already put the wheels in motion towards a new Enhanced Trade Partnership with India by agreeing a £1billion investment programme.
The agreement signed earlier this summer will provide up to £533m of new Indian investment into UK firms and create more than 6,000 jobs.
At the time, Boris Johnson said: “In the decade ahead, with the help of the new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs.”
The Prime Minister discussed relations with India and climate change policy with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.
In a post on Twitter, Mr Modi said: “Was a pleasure to speak to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“We reviewed progress on the India-UK Agenda 2030, exchanged views on climate action in the context of the forthcoming COP26 in Glasgow, and shared our assessments on regional issues including Afghanistan”
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Since the UK left the EU, Ms Truss has masterminded trade deals and agreements in principle with 68 countries and one with the European Union.
The agreements include rolled over EU deals with Canada and Mexico, which opponents had argued would not be possible for the UK to achieve.
Britain has also struck its first free trade deal with Australia – the deal signed in July makes it cheaper for British firms to export products such as Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics.
Trade between the UK and Australia was worth £13.9billion in 2020 and is poised to grow further.
Brexit Britain has also applied to join the lucrative Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The £9trillion trading bloc includes Australia, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
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