The UK government said on Tuesday that it has kicked off preparations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India, launching a 14-week consultation to seek the views of the public and business before formal negotiations begin later this year.
UK Trade Secretary Liz Truss said Britain wants a trade deal with India that pushes new frontiers and welcomes wide input from consumers and businesses across all sectors, which will help craft a deal that includes closer cooperation in "future-focused industries" such as science, technology and services, creating high-value jobs across the country.
"We're firing the starting gun on a free trade deal with India - the world's largest democracy, fifth-biggest economy, a nation of 1.4 billion people and a huge market for British goods like whisky, cars and services," said Truss.
"We want an agreement that pushes new frontiers in industries of the future and helps us build a greener, more innovative and more services-led economy that will deliver higher-paying jobs across the country," she said.
The UK says it wants a deal that slashes barriers to doing business and trading with India's 2 trillion pound economy and a market of 1.4 billion consumers.
This includes removing tariffs of up to 150 per cent on whisky and 125 per cent on British-made cars. The UK also aims to make it easier for services firms to operate in the Indian market, boosting the UK's status as an international services hub.
India's growing middle-income population and highly connected youth will be the target consumers for the type of goods and services the UK excels in, according to the Department for International Trade (DIT).
"India is one of the world's fastest-growing economies and we share much in common, so we're natural partners," said Ranil Jayawardena, International Trade Minister.
"A trade deal will break down barriers, making it easier for British businesses to sell their wares in India - and secure more investment, better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices here at home," he said.
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