Delhi Skyline / source: Wikimedia
Jamie Hardesty

Javid heads to India for post-Brexit trade talks

Business Secretary Sajid Javid is travelling to Delhi today, meeting the Indian Finance and Commerce Ministers, to begin trade talks in the wake of Brexit.

The Business Secretary will use meetings with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to outline his vision for what a future trade relationship between the UK and India might look like outside the EU.

India and the UK have always had traditionally close trade ties: the UK is the largest G20 investor in India, while India invests more in the UK than the rest of the European Union combined. India has also emerged as the third largest source of FDI for the UK.

Last year, bilateral trade in goods and services between the 2 countries was £16.55 billion (in goods was £11.43 billion while trade in services was £5.11 billion).

It is the first in a series of trade meetings the Business Secretary will conduct over the coming months, which also is expected to include trips to the USA, China, Japan and South Korea.

The Business Secretary has also confirmed that to aid in discussions, the government plans to rapidly build its trade capability – up to 300 specialist staff, including new trade negotiators – by the end of the year.

Sajid Javid revealed: “Following the referendum result, my absolute priority is making sure the UK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage.

“That is why I am in India today to launch these initial trade discussions. There is a strong bilateral trade relationship between our 2 countries and I am determined that we build on this.

“Over the coming months, I will be conducting similar meetings with other key trade partners, outlining the government’s vision for what the UK’s future trade relationship might look like.

“As part of the discussions, the Business Secretary is expected to make clear that he would like the UK and India to have a trade agreement in place as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.”

Alongside visiting Delhi, the Business Secretary will also be in Mumbai where he will meet senior Tata Group board members to discuss the ongoing sale of their UK steelmaking assets.

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