Brexit: EU 'struggling to let go' of the UK says Hannan
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Daniel Hannan – officially, Lord Hannan of Kingsclere – was speaking after the visit to the country by International Trade secretary Liz Truss, during which she unveiled an enhanced trade partnership which could pave the way for a agreement some experts estimate could be worth as much as £100billion. Writing in the Telegraph, Lord Hannan, a former Tory MEP, said if any Western country could enjoy a “mutually beneficial” trade deal with India, led by President Narendra Modi, it was Britain, home as it was to 1.5million people of Indian descent.
Presently, tariffs are applied by both countries to a wide range of goods – 9.6 per cent on men’s shirts entering the UK from India for example, and 150 percent on whisky imported to India.
Relaxation of the rules would deliver massive benefits, Lord Hannan stressed, claiming that the biggest gains would come from the liberalisation of legal and financial services.
He explained: “Tech, coding and engineering are among the many instances of where our economies are naturally complementary.
“That complementarity derives, ultimately, from the fact that India, like Britain, is an Anglophone, common law, parliamentary nation – which might just prove the single most important geopolitical fact of the twenty-first century.”
The coronavirus pandemic has speeded up the shift in power from the West to China, which was the only major economy to have grown in comparison with last year.
Lord Hannan added: “Whether that shift also means a more authoritarian world depends largely on whether India self-defines primarily as an English-speaking democracy or as an Asian superpower.”
Boris Johnson, whose children Lord Hannan pointed out were are partly of Indian descent, had ambitions to turn the G7 bloc into a D10 (D for democracies) by including India along with Australia and South Korea.
He said: “It is true that Britain’s relationship with India was not always easy, and the intellectual currents that have led to statue-smashing here are felt, too, on the subcontinent.
“Yet there is also an unmistakeable affinity and affection between the two countries – an affection that the free world may yet have cause to appreciate.”
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Writing for Express.co.uk last weekend, Mrs Truss said: “There are few markets around the world that offer greater potential than India.
“This huge market of 1.4 billion people is already emerging as the world’s fastest-growing major economy and is expected to become the second biggest in the world by 2050, making it a crucial long-term trading partner.
“Securing new opportunities will help our businesses grow by investing in their staff and commercial future, whether it is Twinings selling tea to India, Brompton selling its bicycles, or the Dunstable bakery exporting their naan bread.”
She added: “We are stepping up for 2021 to lead the fight for free and fair trade worldwide as president of the G7, inviting India, South Korea, and Australia as guests to bolster our alliance of democracies.
“We will also be rallying our like-minded allies as hosts of Cop26 in Glasgow in support of clean growth.”
Speaking after Ms Truss’s visit, Nayan Gala, Founding Partner at venture capitalist firm JPIN VCATS, said: ”It’s great to see that the UK and Indian governments have agreed to an enhanced trade partnership.
“India is a 21st century powerhouse the UK-India trading relationship is already worth almost £24 billion, with 383 Indian companies in the UK employing more than 82,000 people.
“The ETP will help to fuel economic recovery in a post-Brexit, post-Covid UK and really allow the UK to benefit from the immense growth India is about to experience in the coming decade.
“A free trade deal with India could be as high as £50-100 billion and will open the door to 1.3 billion potential customers for UK businesses, and provide opportunities for business improvement, consolidation, foreign expansion and diversification in a rapidly growing market.”
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