Brexit could help EU-India FTA but report scotches hopes of UK side deal

Indians and Scotch whiskyBritain’s exit from the European Union is likely to impact positively on India’s hopes of securing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, according to a document drawn up by the EU that was leaked this week, as it would take the UK’s stringent visa policy out of the equation and remove objections to India’s high import tariffs on Scotch whisky. The report also suggests that, despite the optimistic noises coming out from Theresa May’s government, London is likely to struggle to clinch a separate deal with Delhi.
“Given the important Indian diaspora living in the UK and the common past, the UK tends to attach particular importance to its economic relations to India,” the report says. “However, trading ties are more important with other EU member-states.” It points out that the UK is only India’s 18th most important trading partner, compared to Germany, which is its sixth largest. Its authors add that the visas India has been seeking for its skilled workers could be a “political problem” for the UK.
If the report proves to be correct, it will represent a major disappointment to the British Prime Minister, whose visit to India with Trade Secretary Liam Fox and a delegation of 33 business leaders last November was her first to a non-European country since she took up the reins of office. “India is the fastest-growing major economy,” she said at the time, confirming her previous description of the sub-continent as a “key strategic partner” in the aftermath of Brexit.

Source: theguardian