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Trade Deals Round-up: UK Aims for India FTA by G20 Summit With Turkey and Switzerland Talks Ongoing


Talks are ongoing for several post-Brexit trade deals with major international partners including India, Turkey and Switzerland.With business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch trying to secure the India deal ahead of the G20 summit next month, the IOE&IT Daily Update here looks over the state of play of the government’s current ongoing negotiations.IndiaThe UK is edging closer to signing a trade deal with India, bolstered last week by the Department of Business and Trade’s (DBT) ‘Alive with Opportunity’ campaign, launched in Jaipur at the G20 trade ministers’ meeting last week.

The deal will aim to reduce tariffs on key UK exports to India such as cars, legal services and whiskey, while India is seeking a reduction in duties while increasing visa access for skilled workers in IT and healthcare.The possibility of increased migration from India to the UK has been a sticking point throughout the negotiations, but officials are optimistic that a deal will be signed soon.Speaking to The Times, Marco Forgione, director general of the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT), said the deal could offer a number of benefits to the UK, because of the country’s “historical trading links with India, the size of the market, the profile of Indian commerce and the fact it is seen to be a protectionist marketplace.”TurkeyTalks with Turkey to sign a new free trade agreement (FTA), which would update the existing post-Brexit rollover deal, were announced in July.The current deal only addresses trade of goods and talks for a fresh agreement are focusing on services, digital and data.

Eliminating barriers would create further opportunities to enhance growth, as trade between UK and Turkey has increased significantly in previous years, reaching £23.5bn in 2022 – an increase of 30% from 2021.SwitzerlandThe UK is also aiming to complete a fresh agreement with Switzerland, with existing post-Brexit arrangements with the central European nation similarly focussed on goods rather than services, digital or data.Given the high volume of services trade between the UK and Switzerland, with 69% of exports delivered electronically in 2020, an updated deal is a high priority.

Reflecting on a future deal, Badenoch said:“As two of the world’s leading service economies, there’s a huge prize on offer to both the UK and Switzerland by updating our trading relationship to reflect the strength of our companies working in areas ranging from finance and legal, to accountancy and architecture.”Further afieldIn June 2022, the UK began negotiations with the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which represents six states (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain).

The GCC is equivalent to the UK’s 7th largest export market, worth £61.3bn in 2022. The FTA is expected to enter its fifth round of negotiations later this year.Earlier this year, the UK also joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which consists of 11 Pacific Rim nations.It also signed separate deals with CPTPP members Australia and New Zealand in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Reaping the benefitsA crucial point regarding the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals is that they’re only of benefit when businesses are able to make the most of them.Forgione says he supports Badenoch’s strategy of securing targeted deals that will bring the most benefit to the UK. He said:“The signing of the FTA [with India] is to be applauded, but the focus needs to shift, and the secretary of state has made clear that we are going to move from an approach of just signing as many as possible, to making sure that the deals that we sign are good deals and that they will be used.”

Source: Export News

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