Business Secretary Sajid Javid held talks with Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss ways to strengthen trade and economic ties between the two countries in the aftermath of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), according to the Business Standard.
Javid was in India to launch initial discussions to establish new trade deals with individual countries. These bilateral deals will replace agreements the EU has had with more than 50 countries.
“Following the referendum result, my absolute priority is making sure the UK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage,” said Javid.
The talks held on Friday, were not very detailed but were conducted in a bid to provide an early platform for future negotiations.
Javid said he would use the discussions to outline the government’s “vision for what the UK’s future trade relationship might look like”.
While visiting India, Javid also met Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry to discuss the future of Tata Steel’s UK business, which the company announced to sell in March this year.
The company has been trying to sell its UK business, but a recovery in steel prices and the pound’s global fall post the Brexit referendum may slow down the sale process or the company may even reconsider the sale after deeply assessing Brexit impacts.
Ishaat Hussain, a director on board Tata Steel said: “It’s (sale) a long process and a lengthy process. It will take time. It’s not a binary process. You look at the current global business situation. It does have an impact on all business decisions. The process is on. We are exploring all possibilities.”
Tata announced in March that it plans to sell its UK steel operation, a business it bought in 2007, putting 11,000 jobs at risk, including 4,000 at the strip products business in Port Talbot, South Wales.
Cheap Chinese import, depressed price of steel and high energy costs were the reasons the company cited for the sale decision.
Also, the company had inherited a large pension deficit of $900-million when it acquired the erstwhile Corus in 2007, which was also the reason for its slow sale process.
But post the EU referendum all aspects are being reconsidered and the company is showing no urgency to sell the business.
The company has also received a commitment from the British government to acquire 25 percent stake in Tata Steel UK, as a bid to support the company and save around 4,000 jobs.