UK / India free trade agreement negotiated in autumn, according to London

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London | The UK and India will start negotiating a free trade deal this fall, UK International Trade Minister Liz Truss said on Tuesday, the day after the announcement of a new trade and investment partnership between the United States. two countries, particularly in terms of vaccines.

According to Downing Street, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will, in a virtual meeting on Tuesday, deepen cooperation between the two countries, as London seeks new trade deals after its effective exit from the European Union on January 1.

“We will start negotiations on a full free trade agreement this fall,” Liz Truss told Sky News, saying she wanted to be done “as soon as possible.”

By then, she praised the partnership amounting to one billion pounds (1.15 billion euros) concluded between the two countries and which, according to her, will benefit each of them.

According to the British government, the agreement should create more than 6,500 jobs in the United Kingdom and includes a new Indian investment of 533 million pounds.

Of this sum, 240 million will be invested by the Serum Institute of India, one of the manufacturers of the AstraZeneca vaccine, to support clinical trials, research and development and possibly also vaccine production.

Trade between India and the former British colonial power is worth £ 23 billion a year, and Liz Truss has said she hopes she can double that amount by 2030.

Boris Johnson was due to visit India in April to strengthen the business partnership, but had to cancel his trip due to the new wave of the coronavirus pandemic that is currently overwhelming the country.

With nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants, India is one of the UK’s post-Brexit priority markets, focused on the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region.

The prospect of a future free trade agreement nevertheless seems far from certain, the Indian Prime Minister finding himself rather in a dynamic of “Made in India” and of a self-sufficient India.

Last year it abruptly refused to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement between 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with New Delhi fearing that the agricultural, commodity sectors dairy products and services are at a disadvantage.

Discussions between the EU and India on a free trade agreement are due to resume in May, eight years after a series of 16 failed talks.