William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

These negotiations could lead to better trading terms for UK exporters and a substantial increase in trade with India over the next decade. If agreement can be reached with India on tariff reduction, removing technical barriers to trade in goodand servicesand on digital trade it has the best potential of any of the UK’s individual free trade negotiations to date.

These negotiations also create opportunities for levelling up export growth across the UK. London and the South East of England already have deep trade links with India but a deep trade agreement could also deliver particularly strong export growth in Wales, NE & NW England and the West Midlands.

“Although the EU will stay our closest and most important trading partner by far, a comprehensive deal with India would certainly create new opportunities, particularly for small and medium-sized exporting firms.

To make this deal a success there must be a strong digital trade chapter to create greater e-commerce opportunities for UK exporters. We will also want to make the most of the dedicated chapter for small and medium sized businesses, while seeking provisions on rules of origin that will create additional flexibilities for manufacturing exporters in how they can organise their supply chains.

“But it is important that Government works in partnership with business around these negotiations right from the start. Business in India can also make a strong case for a deep trade agreement to generate the most value for firms and consumers.”

More information on the trade negotiations announcement can be found here.