International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has welcomed the “golden opportunity” of a free trade deal with India as negotiations begin.
Ms Trevelyan will officially launch the negotiations with her Indian counterpart in New Delhi on Thursday, which she hopes will kick off a “five-star year of trade” with further agreements around the world.
The Department for International Trade (DIT) said the deal could almost double UK exports to India, and bolster trade by as much as £28 million by 2035.
It is hoped that any new agreement would include cutting tariffs on exports of British-made cars and Scotch whisky, and would also contribute to the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “A trade deal with India’s booming economy offers huge benefits for British businesses, workers and consumers. As we take our historic partnership with India to the next level, the UK’s independent trade policy is creating jobs, increasing wages and driving innovation across the country.”
Ms Trevelyan added: “A deal with India is a golden opportunity to put UK businesses at the front of the queue as the Indian economy continues to grow rapidly.
“By 2050 India will be the world’s third-largest economy with a middle class of almost 250 million shoppers. We want to unlock this huge new market for our great British producers and manufacturers across numerous industries from food and drink to services and automotive.”
The first round of negotiations is expected to start next week.