Negotiations for an FTA (free trade agreement) between the UK and India formally kicked off in January 2022. It's been stated that there are plans to double the existing £23.3bn worth of trade between the countries by 2030.
The ambition is to increase UK exports to India by up to £16.7bn by 2035, but with the caveat, strongly voiced by the NFU, that the UK’s high environmental, labour, food safety and animal welfare standards are protected.
There is also an opportunity to export knowledge. An FTA would make it easier to transfer technology, set up joint ventures and share knowledge about the UK's sustainability credentials.
Free trade with India – the advantages
The government says that a UK-India agreement would help put Britain at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region. It's an area representing more than 40% of global gross domestic product and containing some of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
An FTA would bring:
- reduced barriers to trade in wider goods
- more opportunities for UK services and investment
- support for innovation and trade in a digital era
- opportunities for businesses across the UK.
India has not been an easy market to gain access to, meaning the UK would be in a strong position if a deal is concluded.
"A trade deal with India poses many opportunities for UK farmers to sell more quality, sustainable British food overseas. If we are granted greater access to the Indian market, I'm confident that our traceability, food production and safety standards would be very well received by consumers there."
NFU President Minette Batters