Kemi Badenoch hails the UK’s ‘thriving relationship’ with India as talks progress for a major new trade deal
- Mrs Badenoch arrives in Jaipur today for a summit with her G20 counterparts
Kemi Badenoch today hails Britain’s ‘thriving relationship’ with India as talks progress on a major new trade deal between the two countries.
The Business and Trade Secretary arrives in Jaipur for a summit with her G20 counterparts before holding crucial talks in New Delhi.
She and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will take stock of negotiations for a new agreement between the UK and India which are entering their toughest stages yet.
Mrs Badenoch will also meet business leaders including holding a bilateral with Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of the Tata Group which is building a £4billion electric car battery ‘gigafactory’ in the UK.
And she will launch a new £1.5million marketing campaign highlighting the strong cultural links between the nations, in an attempt to boost demand for British goods and encourage more investment by Indian firms.
Kemi Badenoch today hails Britain’s ‘thriving relationship’ with India as talks progress on a major new trade deal between the two countries
Mrs Badenoch said: ‘I’m delighted to be returning to India to support their G20 Presidency, further our trade talks and meet key business leaders.
‘The UK and India have a thriving relationship and we both share an ambition to deepen our cultural and trading ties.
‘India is the UK’s second biggest source of investment projects and I’m confident this new campaign will help boost interest in and demand for UK goods and services even further.’ Her trip coincides with Round 12 of talks between officials on what is hoped will be one of the biggest post-Brexit deals, building on the current annual figure of £36bn trade between the UK and India.
There has been speculation that a final announcement could be made before Rishi Sunak arrives for the G20 leaders’ summit in September.
But that prospect is now being played down, with another round of negotiations likely next month as Mrs Badenoch is focusing on ‘the deal not the date’.
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Sources say ‘good progress’ is being made but the next phase will be the hardest yet with an agreement still to be reached on goods, services and investment.
Several key elements remain on the table including Britain’s hope of reducing high tariffs on our whiskey and cars being shipped to India.
Although India is regarded as an economic superpower, overtaking the UK as the world’s fifth-biggest economy in 2021, it remains protectionist and cautious about liberalisation.
Another sticking point has been UK ministers’ refusal to grant more visas to Indian workers.
A government source said: ‘There is a great deal to be done with India, but what happens in the negotiating room will govern the timeline.
Mrs Badenoch will also meet business leaders including holding a bilateral with Natarajan Chandrasekaran (pictured), chairman of the Tata Group which is building a £4billion electric car battery ‘gigafactory’ in the UK
‘We’ve made progress but talks are focused on complex and technical areas including goods, services, and investment.’
William Bain, head of trade policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘Having much more visa access to the UK will be part of the key things to get a deal over the line.
‘If there is a future stage later in the year where the two prime ministers meet face to face for a further push – it’s really going to be that issue of services access in return for better access for Indian nationals in the UK.
‘It is a bigger export market and it’s one which is rapidly increasing its prosperity. Also India hasn’t done many trade agreements, so the UK is relatively front of the queue here.’
The Business Secretary has also insisted that the ‘voices of doom’ who predicted the UK would suffer after Brexit have been ‘proved decisively wrong’.
In an article for the Daily Express she wrote: ‘Far from turning their backs on the UK, companies are queuing to invest here.’
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