With the negotiations for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the United Kingdom expected to start later this year, the UK-India Business Council (UKIBC) has proposed measures that could be included, including the reduction of Indian import duty on Scotch whisky and medical devices along with the alignment of standards and intellectual property protection.
UKIBC managing director Kevin McCole said that over July and August the industry body had held several round table discussions taking inputs from over 200 companies including small and medium enterprises as well as multinational companies covering sectors such as digital, food and drink, healthcare, financial services, education, defence and aerospace and energy.
The discussions were held following a virtual summit between the Prime Ministers of India and UK in May where an enhanced trade partnership (ETP) was announced to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA, including the consideration of an interim trade agreement for early gains. It is expected to double the trade between the two countries by 2030.
The UK industry wants tariffs on bottled in origin spirits to be reduced to 30 per cent over three years from 150 per cent at present, a statement read, adding that the tariff on medical devices should be aligned to the average World Trade Organisation (WTO) rate of 4.8 per cent.
It has also suggested the simplification of customs procedures, tax parity between the UK and Indian businesses and secure mutual recognition of qualifications in higher education and professional services along with the alignment of data protection and IP protection.
McCole said the UKIBC has recommended a series of interim or mini-agreements that will eventually form a fully comprehensive FTA.