PM May to explore free trade deal during India visit

PM May to explore free trade deal during India visit

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to explore the possibility of a free trade deal between India and Britain, as she makes her first bilateral visit outside the European Union.

During her tour, between November 6-8, May will showcase the UKs long-term relations with major economies like India.

For India, it will be an opportunity to work out a better economic template that could make UK, already a premier destination for Indian investment, a more important trade partner.

May’s summit has been tagged to a technology meet being organised by the department of science & technology and CII, which is meant to demonstrate the importance and expanse of science & technology cooperation in India-UK ties.

Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her counterpart Liam Fox are expected to work out a free trade agreement, though the details of that would only be worked out after the Brexit process is put in motion from early 2017.

Education is also set for the agenda with the UK tightening rules allowing students to work in Britain after completing their studies there, the number of those enrolled in British universities has halved from 40,000 to about 20,000 in the past five years.

Vikas Swarup, MEA spokesperson said, “This has happened because of restrictions on post study stay in the UK. We have raised our concerns on the difficulties being faced by Indian students with the UK side. We expect mobility issues to be raised during the visit.”

There remains substantial scope for further strengthening bilateral cooperation across a range of sectors, including science & technology, finance, trade & investment, and defence & security.

May herself has given an indication of how the UK will approach ties with India post Brexit. “We have the chance to forge a new global role for the UK – to look beyond our continent and towards the economic and diplomatic opportunities in the wider world,” May had said.

“I am determined to capitalize on those opportunities, and as we embark on the trade mission to India, we will send the message that the UK will be the most passionate, most consistent and most convincing advocate for free trade.”



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