International trade secretary Liz Truss is set to begin a 14-week consultation with businesses on what to prioritise in soon to begin UK-India trade deal negotiations.
Truss has said this mean the UK was “firing the starting gun on a free trade deal with India” before negotiations officially begin later this year.
The UK’s trading relationship with India was worth £23bn in 2019, however the government want to double this figure by 2030.
The Department for International Trade said negotiators will concentrate on tariffs being slashed on British goods like cars and Scotch Whiskey, while also aiming to open the Indian market to UK financial and legal 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,” Truss said.
The deal would be one of the first negotiated from scratch post-Brexit.
Negotiators are currently working on deals with Australia, New Zealand and the US, with the Australian deal expected to be signed next.
Tej Parikh, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors think tank, said that the India trade negoations were unlikely to be “quick and easy”.
” With professional services firms feeling sidelined by the Brexit deal, these negotiations could be an opportunity for the UK to support legal and financial services firms gain better access to India’s huge market,” he said.
“But while India is keen to build its credentials as a manufacturing hub, it may not want to invite too much competition into the high value-added services industry and may also be looking for improvements in its workers’ access to the UK.”