Business Standard - 31 October 2023
India, UK see free-trade deal possibly in December after poll results
India and the UK don’t expect a free trade agreement to be announced until after state elections in the South Asian nation are completed in December, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
There are still some differences around whether taxation will be included in a proposed investment protection pact, as well as the UK’s demand that tariffs be cut on electric vehicle exports to India, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the deliberations are private.
There isn’t any firm deadline but an announcement could be made after the vote concludes and results are out December 3, another person said.
The deal, when concluded, would be a major milestone for two of the world’s largest economies that share a long history. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would likely showcase the deal as a benefit of Brexit, while it would help his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi tout more local manufacturing and job creation when he seeks a third term next year.
India’s trade ministry didn’t reply to an email seeking comment. A spokesperson for the UK Department for Business and Trade said both administrations “continue to work towards an ambitious trade deal that works for both countries.”