Boris Johnson plans £50billion Brexit trade deal with India – pact to be done in 12 months

Liz Truss says UK will be 'adding' to trade deals in 2021

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The Prime Minister is understood to be eager to secure an interim agreement in less than 12 months as the UK looks to bolster its trading relationships across the globe. The UK has already secured trade deals or rolled over agreements Britain was covered by when in the EU, with over 70 countries.

The Prime Minister has set his sights on agreeing deals with India, the US, Australia and New Zealand in the near future.

Later this month Mr Johnson will travel to New Delhi to meet with his Indian counterpart.

A leaked Government memo shows the Prime Minister will use the visit to announce a target of £50billion of trade by the end of the decade.

In 2020 the UK’s trade with India was worth £18.3billion.

The Prime Minister is understood to see boosting the exports of cars and whiskey as priorities in negotiations.

Meanwhile, the leaked Government document indicates India is likely to use the talks to try to secure greater access to UK visas for university students and workers.

“Mobility will likely be India’s priority offensive ask and will be a sensitive issue,” the memo says according to the Financial Times.

It adds 150 percent levies on whisky and 125 percent taxes on vehicles imported from the UK were of “strong offensive interest for the UK”.

Reducing the tariffs in an interim agreement with New Delhi would be “early wins” according to the civil service.

A Government spokesman said: “We do not comment on leaks.

“The UK is forging a deeper trade and investment partnership with India that will help both countries build back better from the pandemic.”

This week it was announced by No10 Mr Johnson’s trip to India would be cut short due to surging coronavirus cases in the south Asian country.

India has so far confirmed more than 13.9 million cases and 172,000 dead, although the actual figure is thought to be significantly higher.

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Yesterday 4,177 new cases in the country were confirmed by New Delhi.

The Prime Minister had been due to spend four days in India at the end of the month but the “bulk” of the meetings could now take place in just one day.

Mr Johnson’s trip has already been delayed once after the original January tour date was put back by four months due to the UK’s struggle to contain the surge of the virus at the start of the year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said on Wednesday: “We’ve been in close contact with the Indian government about the PM’s upcoming visit in the light of the Covid situation in India.

“As a result of these discussions, the Prime Minister has made the decision to reduce the length of the visit which is due to take place at the end of this month, so it will be a shorter programme in New Delhi.

“This programme will be focused on high-level discussions with the Indian government and Indian business leaders.

“We will set out more details in due course but the visit will include a bilateral meeting with prime minister Modi.

“As with all the PM’s visits, his trip to India will prioritise the safety of those involved and all elements will be Covid secure.”

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