According to Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Britain wants informal talks on a likely trade pact with India to continue until its exit process with the EU is over. She said the export slowdown has bottomed out, and her ministry is in regular talks with the finance ministry to offer relief to struggling SEZs.
As far as the trade approach talks with the UK after Brexit, she said although the time frame to complete (Britain’s exit process with the EU) is two years, they expect to complete it sooner than that. So, both India and the UK should start talks informally; as and when Britain completes the process with the EU and has the authority to forge bilateral treaties, both the parties should be ready for it.
The key features of the likely pact with the UK, she said goods will be a key pillar of the talks with Britain. Also, India will be talking as much about services as about goods. The advantage that India has in goods (most nations want greater access to the massive Indian market in goods) will have to be leveraged to get a good bargain in services. Therefore, reciprocity being the guiding principle, India would want a good deal in the services domain as much as they would want India to yield on the goods domain (Britain made up for 3.4 per cent of India’s goods exports in FY16 and 12 per cent of software services exports in FY15.