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UK promises better market access to India after Brexit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has shown much enthusiasm to sign a free trade agreement with India, which can happen only after Britain formally leaves the EU, expected in March 2019

business Updated: Jun 25, 2017 21:12 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has shown much enthusiasm to sign a free trade agreement with India, which can happen only after Britain formally leaves the EU, expected in March 2019.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has shown much enthusiasm to sign a free trade agreement with India, which can happen only after Britain formally leaves the EU, expected in March 2019.(AFP File)

Keen to increase trade with India and other Commonwealth countries to compensate for the loss of the European Single Market after Brexit, Britain has promised improved market access to the group that currently exports goods worth £20 billion annually.

The Theresa May government said it will use “Brexit to cement Britain’s standing in the world and meet our commitments to the world’s poorest by securing their existing duty-free access to UK markets and providing new opportunities to increase trade links”. 

May has shown much enthusiasm to sign a free trade agreement with India, which can happen only after Britain formally leaves the EU, expected in March 2019. Initial talks have been held on such an agreement between London and New Delhi.

Downing Street said the commitment meant that around 48 countries across the globe, from Bangladesh to Sierra Leone, Haiti and Ethiopia will continue to benefit from duty-free exports into the UK on all goods other than arms and ammunition, known as ‘everything but arms’.

International trade secretary Liam Fox said: “Our departure from the EU is an opportunity to step up to our commitments to the rest of the world, not step away from them”.

The UK is the fourth largest inward investor in India, after Mauritius, Singapore and Japan, with a cumulative equity investment of US $ 24.59 billion (April 2000- March 2017). UK ranks second among the G20 countries and accounts for around 7% of all foreign direct investment into India for the period April 2000 – March 2017.

According to the latest Inward Investment Result 2015-16 released by the Department for International Trade, India retains the position as the third largest investor in the UK. India is also the second largest international job creator in UK.

Indian companies created 140 FDI projects in the UK in 2015-16, and created 7,105 new jobs and safeguarded 344 jobs, official figures state.