UK’s Sunak Won’t Sacrifice Quality For Speed On India Trade Deal
Deal was due to be signed by Diwali in October, talks continue. Sunak’s comments come ahead of G-20 meeting with India’s Modi.
(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he won’t “sacrifice quality for speed” when securing the final details of a free trade agreement with India ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.
“No doubt we’ll be talking about it again when we meet this week,” Sunak told reporters on his way to the Group of 20 summit of industrialized nations in Bali. “But I wouldn’t sacrifice quality for speed. And that goes for all trade deals. It’s important that we get them right rather than rush them.”
Britain has completed most of the sections of a free trade agreement with India, Trade Minister Greg Hands said last month. The government had previously said it wanted to finalize the deal by the Hindu festival of Diwali, an October deadline which has now passed. The current UK-India trading relationship is worth £24 billion ($28 billion).
As the two nations edge toward signing the deal, the UK also confirmed an earlier announcement that it’s offering 3,000 visa places annually to 18–30 year-old degree educated Indian nationals to come to the UK to live and work for up to two years. The scheme will be reciprocal.
Sunak will be especially mindful of any criticism of his handling of the latest post-Brexit trade deal. On Monday, former Environment Secretary George Eustice said the country needs to recognize the “failures” of the Department for International Trade during the negotiations with Australia over a similar free trade agreement. He also blamed Liz Truss, the then international trade secretary, for setting an arbitrary time target, and therefore “setting the clock against us and shattering our own negotiating position.”
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