Indian business chief warns of Brexit's "double hit" to UK-India trade

 
Helen Cahill
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Prime Minister Of India Visits The UK
Trading relations with India could be hit by Brexit (Source: Getty)

Trade between the UK and India could be held back by a "double hit" due to the result of the Brexit vote and the fall in the value of sterling, the head of India's biggest business lobby has said.

The warning from the head of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) comes ahead of a three-day visit to India by Prime Minister Theresa May.

A Didar Singh, Ficci's secretary general, said Brexit would "obviously" have implications for around 800 Indian businesses operating in the UK, the Guardian reports.

Read more: British farmers are "sacrificial lambs" if the UK gets an Indian trade deal

"The EU is India's largest trading partner... but exports from the UK to India have been declining," he said.

"Now, exports from India to the UK will also decline because you've lost 18 per cent of your pound's value. So if I'm sending something to the UK and getting a lower return on it, I'm going to have a think about that. It's a double hit."

On her visit to India, May will be on a mission to sell Britain after the Brexit vote, and create new paths for trading agreements.

Announcing the trip, May said: "We have the chance to forge a new global role for the UK - to look beyond our continent and towards the economic and diplomatic opportunities in the wider world.

"I am determined to capitalise on those opportunities, and as we embark on the trade mission to India, we will send the message that the UK will be the most passionate, most consistent and most convincing advocate for free trade."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UK in 2015, and in a speech to parliament praised London's place in a "globalised world".

"The city has embraced the world's diversity," he said.

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