I am pleased to confirm that advanced talks with India are ongoing. We are in round 13, with discussions currently focused on goods, market access, services and investment. We remain clear that we will not sign until we have a free trade agreement that fully benefits the UK people and economy. We are focused on the deal, not the date.
Total trade in goods and services between the UK and India was £36.3 billion in the year to March 2023. An FTA with the fifth-largest economy in the world, and one of the fastest-growing, would be a massive boost to the UK economy and put UK businesses at the front of the queue to supply India’s growing middle class, which is expected to be a quarter of a billion consumers by 2050. This is an important exploitation of Brexit, so will the Minister do all he can to bring this deal over the line as soon as possible for Britain?
My right hon. Friend of course has a lot of experience in complex negotiations and I can say that we, like him, will not be satisfied until we have the right deal. He is right that a deal with India would be a big step forward in the UK’s post-Brexit strategy to refocus UK trade on the Indo-Pacific region, which represents one third of global GDP. My negotiators and I continue to work at pace and we will negotiate until we have secured the right deal. I warmly welcome his interest in doing more trade with India.