Indian Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said negotiations on a £23bn FTA with the UK were “progressing well” with both sides “talking to each other.”But he made clear they were working to “identify areas where we can close the deal in terms of an early harvest if possible.”
Mr Goyal’s “early harvest” plan would be a precursor to an FTA which would see tariff barriers lowered on a limited set of goods.
Under an early harvest deal, backed by UK trade officials, tariffs could be slashed on products like Scotch whisky before a full agreement is in place.
For Indian producers, items like rice could get greater access to the UK market.
Mr Goyal added: “Instead of trying to address 11,000 lines, we can look at areas of their immediate interest and our immediate interest; close an early harvest agreement and continue to negotiate on the rest of the agreement.”
Mr Goyal made positive signs about talks with Britain ahead of the European Union.
New Delhi, Express.co.uk understands, expects a deal to be secured with the UK ahead of the European Union due to the negotiation process.
Mr Goyal said discussions with Brussels “may take longer” as they are a 27 member group but also expressed concerns about Brussels willingness to secure a deal.
Bilateral trade with India was valued at £23 billion in 2019 with International Trade Secretary Liz Truss claiming a deal would boost British exports through lower tariffs and increased investment opportunities in multiple service and product sectors.
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UK Government insiders said India talks were “progressing well” in the pre-negotiation phase of an FTA (free trade agreement).
But a source close to Ms Truss said the UK were “keen” to secure an interim or specialised deal.
They added to this publication: “If we can secure an interim agreement, this would be beneficial for both countries, especially for Brexit Britain.”
Ministers are also undertaking a 14-week consultation on a future trade deal with India, seeking the views of the public and businesses.
Since completing its exit from the European Union at the end of last year, Boris Johnson and Ms Truss have been keen to secure trade deals and are particularly pursuing ties with nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
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