On Thursday, Britain and India began negotiating a post-Brexit trade agreement, with London wanting lower tariffs on Scotch whisky and wider access to India’s services and tech industries.
New Delhi, which has been called the “tariff king” by former US President Donald Trump for its aversion to lowering trade barriers, wants to make it simpler and cheaper for Indians to acquire British visas in exchange.
Following the inauguration of the discussions in Delhi, Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and British Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan issued a joint statement reiterating the goal of tripling bilateral trade volumes by 2030.
“Both sides have agreed that we will focus initially on areas which are of mutual benefit and where there is less disagreement, and for which we have set a very aggressive timeline of next few months,” Goyal told reporters.
“We are optimistic that there is such a high level of complementarity between the two economies that we should be able to quickly reach a substantial agreement in the first phase… I believe we are dedicated to wrapping up this agreement in approximately a year “he stated
“The UK has world-class businesses and expertise we can rightly be proud of, from Scotch whisky distillers to financial services and cutting-edge renewable technology,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
“We are seizing the opportunities offered in growing economies of the Indo-Pacific to cement our place on the global stage and deliver jobs and growth at home,” he added.
Britain has reached trade agreements with Japan, New Zealand, and Australia in an effort to compensate for lower trade volumes with the European Union after leaving the EU in January 2020.
According to Bloomberg News, the overall volume of trade at risk in an agreement between Britain and India is tiny fry, comparable to around 3% of London’s total volume of trade with the EU.
New Delhi’s attempt to make it easier for Indian citizens to get UK visas may irritate Brexit supporters who want to reduce immigration.
“working-class voters who voted Brexit did not vote to replace immigration from Europe with more immigration from the rest of the world” Conservative MP Edward Leigh told parliament last week.