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business | IST

India-UK trade deal critical and important, ease of doing business equally vital: UKIBC

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India UK will begin negotiations on a trade deal. Both sides are hoping to finalise an interim trade deal followed by a full FTA next year. Richard Heald, Executive Chair, UKIBC shared his key expectations and the recommendations to the UK government on the proposed trade deal.

India and UK are set to begin negotiations on a trade deal. Both sides are hoping to finalise an interim trade deal followed by a full FTA next year. In 2020, two-way trade between UK and India stood at $25.3 billion, down 22 percent compared to 2019. Indian imports from the UK were £6.6 billion and India's exports to UK were £11.6 billion. The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) has been urging the two sides for an early completion of negotiations. UK wants greater access for its companies in the digital, data, tech, food sectors and scotch whiskey. Richard Heald, Executive Chair, UKIBC, shared his key expectations and the recommendations to the UK government on the proposed trade deal.
“Having a trade deal is absolutely critical and important, having continued progress on ease of doing business equally important,” he said.
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“Our key recommendations are driven by the consultations we had with the UK businesses. UK businesses are looking forward to engaging with India, looking forward to trade in key areas like defense, digital, scotch whiskey, but also in other areas such as food and beverages generally, as well as pharma, etc,” he said.
At the same time, there is a strong recommendation put to the UK and the Indian government that focus should remain on ease of doing business in parallel with trade discussions, he noted.
Sharing his views on the reform process in India, the retrospective tax issue coming to an end, and the Indian government in the process of refunding the amounts that had been collected as retrospective tax, he replied, “We feel extremely positive. The legislation that was introduced by the Indian government was extremely welcomed. This has been a longstanding issue and now it is being clarified. We are looking forward to seeing a resolution of this.”
For the full interview, watch the accompanying video.