UK-India Free Trade Agreement to be launched this week

Tuesday 11th January 2022 13:17 EST

As Asian Voice went to print on Tuesday, the International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan was about to start her 2-day trip to New Delhi on January 12. 


Trevelyan will hold bilateral talks with her Indian counterpart Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday 13 January where they are expected to discuss a range of issues including green trade and the removal of market access barriers for both the UK and Indian businesses. They will also confirm the launch of official negotiations on a new UK-India free trade deal.


"The UK and India are already close friends and trading partners, and building on that strong relationship is a priority for 2022,” said Trevelyan before leaving for India. 


"I will be using my visit to drive forward an ambitious trade agenda which represents the UK's Indo-Pacific tilt in action and shows how we are seizing global opportunities as an independent trading nation," she said.


Senior Tory backbencher Sir Edward Leigh has warned the Prime Minister on looser immigration controls. Telegraph reported that the Gainsborough MP warned Boris Johnson against being “held to ransom” and thundered that the Tories’ new working-class support “did not vote to replace immigration from Europe with more immigration from the rest of the world”. 


It is common knowledge that in exchange for relaxed trade routes between India and the UK, the former will seek easier visa routes for its professionals and students who wish to enter the UK.


Amid the shortage of workers in the UK across sectors, the CBI President, Lord Bilimoria rooted for more flexible visa restrictions between India and the UK ahead of the formal launch of trade talks between the two countries this week.


Supporting this idea, Lord Karan Bilimoria said, “Both India and the UK are very strong services economies and services exports also need mobility. If we're going to have the ability to have better mobility between our countries that will help our services trade, which should be very important for Britain and also for India - Indian IT workers for example. The less restrictions they face in coming to work here, the more they're able to work over here will be better for Indian companies.” 


A Department for International Trade spokesman said: “This Government is determined to secure the best trade deals possible to ensure the UK goes from strength to strength. Trade and immigration are separate policy areas. Immigration is not routinely discussed in trade negotiations. We took back control of our borders when we left the European Union and have the freedom to now set our own border rules which are in the interests of the UK.”

Speaking to Asian Voice, Lord Rami Ranger CBE said, "With the ageing population and declining birthrate, Britain needs a young workforce to fuel the economy to pay for social services, which we have come to enjoy. I do not think any Govt will give any other government an ultimatum or condition for a free trade agreement. These agreements are based on many critical criteria, such as trade advantage between the two countries. British Govt will only allow workers needed to fill the skill gap and not just get a trade deal with India. If this was the case, then there was no need for Brexit. The Brexit was to control immigration and bring those who fit the needs of the employers. The senior Tory politician is simply scaremongering. Neither India nor the United Kingdom will accept conditional free trade."

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