India-UK trade deal to get pushed after general elections

Both countries are looking forward to an early conclusion of a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement.

The trade agreement between India and the UK has been dragging a lot due to the indecisiveness of the UK over important issues like business mobility and the things only to be taken up by the new office after the general elections.

According to the officials, the FTA discussions with the UK are at the final stage except for a few issues which are still to be resolved. These issues are significant to India and can be taken up with the new government.

British officials are emphasizing tariff relaxations for alcohol and automobiles in India, while India wants greater mobility for its working professionals in the UK. Both parties highlight the need for mutually beneficial agreements. If the talks about easier mobility for Indian professionals in the UK are taken out of the negotiations, there won’t be any significant gain for India, as most Indian goods already have duty-free access to the UK market.

The UK is keen on more access to the Indian market for dairy products, automobiles (including electric vehicles), and Scotch whisky, which face high import duties in India. Indian industry is open to reducing tariffs on automobiles and whiskey but seeks reciprocity from London and considerations for Indian climatic conditions.

Negotiations for the India-UK FTA started in 2022 but faced delays due to political instability in the UK. Talks resumed under the new government, but with uncertainties about the future UK election outcome, there’s little momentum to finalize the trade deal from India’s perspective.

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