By Ritam Banati
As a prelude to the first round of the negotiations on Jan. 17 aimed at doubling bilateral trade by 2030, UK Trade Secretary Annie-Marie Trevelyan visited India to formally launch trade talks with Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.
As a part of their Road map 2030 strategy, the two countries have the following broad objectives in mind:
To double bilateral trade in goods and services to a whopping $100 billion by 2030
To enhance sectoral cooperation in tourism, technology, climate change, and education
To generate jobs by enabling balanced concessions and market access
In specific terms, the negotiations would also revolve around removing tariffs of up to 150% on whiskey and 125% on British-made cars.
Both the countries stand to gain from what Secretary Trevelyan termed a "future-facing" deal.
India's Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said that India stands to gain from this "multidimensional economic partnership" with exports growth in leather, textiles, jewelry, and agri-products.
India has particular interests in these sectors due to its immense employment-generating potential.
Mutually beneficial negotiations
At a News conference that Trevelyan attended, Goyal informed the media that both the countries would capture the opportunities by "fast-tracking" the interim agreement via mutual engagement.
On the other hand, the UK Trade Secretary talked about her country's desire to rejuvenate the health, climate, and defense sectors.
The kick-starting of these talks is a part of the UK looking at the Indo-Pacific region to bolster its economy. This region is crucial for the UK because the globe's 50% economic growth depends upon this part of the world, which resides half the world's populace. Moreover, the Free Trade Agreement will take British companies to the forefront of the queue of the Indian economy, and thus it presents, what she termed as a "golden opportunity" for Britain.
On questions about easing visa restrictions, Trevelyan said, "sensitive issues are not our priority."