India and UK to move forward on trade talks as Boris Johnson plans visit

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NEW DELHI: India and Britain will push negotiations on trade ties, their foreign ministers said after talks in New Delhi on Tuesday, as both countries seek to restart economies battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said trade ministers from both countries had held discussions and there was “a serious intent” to deepen trade.

Britain’s Dominic Raab said the two foreign ministers “would like to nudge our trade negotiators along and see what we can achieve.”

“What I think we recognise is the possibilities of a deeper trading relationship. The contours of our economies would allow that and we, certainly, as foreign ministers see a very powerful strategic case,” Raab said after four hours of talks with Jaishankar.

Trade and investment will be high on the agenda of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will travel to New Delhi in January, his first bilateral visit since taking office.

Earlier this year, trade minister Piyush Goyal said India was open to engage with Britain on a preferential trade agreement, ultimately leading to a free trade agreement.

India pulled out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, an Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, last year due to fears over China’s access to its markets. Britain is seeking fresh deals, having cited the freedom to strike bilateral agreements as a benefit of leaving the EU.

Trade between Britain and India totalled more than 20 billion pounds ($26.60 billion) in 2018, according to Britain’s Department for International Trade.





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