Uncertainty looms over India’s draft trade deal with the UK, despite the two governments earlier this year setting October 24 Diwali as the deadline for concluding negotiations and signing the deal.
The UK’s opposition to India’s data localization requirements and its demand to allow companies to bid for government contracts in India led to an impasse in the trade deal negotiations, The telegraph reported citing a source familiar with the talks.
What has also led to a stalemate in the negotiations is India’s insistence on better access to the UK market for its companies providing services, particularly in the information technology and communication sectors. health, sources said. DH.
The government has made it clear that it can only commit to lower tariffs on whiskey exported to India when London agrees to its demand for a concession for its service industry and for a liberal visa regime to facilitate travel by its qualified professionals to the United Kingdom.
Read | Fears of India-British free trade pact watered down amid visa row
The UK has also required market access for its legal and accounting services companies in India.
India has conveyed its displeasure to the UK over the recent comment by British Home Secretary Suella Braverman, expressing ‘concerns’ and ‘reservations’ that the proposed trade deal could open doors to increased immigration from India to the UK. The comment also cast a shadow over the deal negotiations.
India has threatened to impose additional 15% tariffs on the import of 22 products, including whisky, cheese and diesel engine components from the UK. India’s move came in retaliation for restrictions imposed by the UK on the import of steel products.
The government has been quietly working on a plan for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit London later this month to join British Prime Minister Liz Truss to witness the signing of the trade deal. The proposed visit, however, seems unlikely now.
Officials from both sides are currently exploring the possibility of finalizing a limited-scope interim agreement before the deadline, sources said.
Modi had hosted Truss’ predecessor Boris Johnson for a meeting in New Delhi on April 22, when they set a Diwali deadline for the India-UK trade deal to be completed.
Without specifically referring to the negotiations between India and the UK, Trade Minister Piyush Goyal recently said that the Modi government would take into account the views of all stakeholders and give top priority to the national interest. in the negotiation of trade agreements. He went on to say that the government “would not deviate from this approach for reasons of time”.
UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has indicated India and the UK could “do even more later”, even if a trade deal is struck with India now. She sought to lower expectations by saying the India-UK trade deal might not have everything the services sector would like it to contain.
The UK has also indicated that it does not want to compromise on its national interests just to meet the deadline for a deal.
The two sides officially launched negotiations on the trade deal on January 13 this year. The UK Government’s strategic approach to talks with India included seeking predictable and open regulatory principles so that UK businesses can access digital markets in India and operate across borders freely and in fair competition. London also had among its goals to demand New Delhi’s “commitments on free and reliable cross-border data flows”, prevent “unwarranted data localization” and maintain “the UK’s high standards of data protection”. personal data”.