India-UK trade deal misses Diwali deadline but new talks in the offing
The India-UK trade deal has missed its completion deadline of Diwali, which passed over the weekend. Despite the delay, new talks are scheduled soon and a new UK Prime Minister has raised hopes that the deal will be ready in the near future.
“We have already closed the majority of chapters and look forward to the next round of talks shortly,” said UK trade department minister Greg Hands in an address in the UK parliament, the Times of India reported. “We are working towards the best deal for both sides and won’t sign until we have a deal that is fair, reciprocal, and ultimately in the best interests of the British people and the UK economy.”
The fact that new UK PM Sunak had previously expressed support for an India-UK free trade agreement when he was the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer has given negotiators hope that he will be keen to conclude the talks soon. Sunak had highlighted the fintech and insurance sectors as specific opportunities for growth for both nations along with other sectors such as gems and jewellery.
However, the UK’s newly reappointed Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comments about Indian people making up the largest group of people overstaying their visas in the UK has worried Indian negotiators who hope to exchange more flexible visa regulations for lower import duties on automobiles and Scotch.
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