Trade deal round-up: NFU talks Turkey, another round of India-UK talks and Moroccan 'gateway'

Fri 28 Jul 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Trade deal barometer

The IOE&IT Daily Update rounds up the latest developments in UK trade talks, including the most recent round of talks on a deal with India, farmers eyeing benefits from Turkish negotiations and a call for expansion of economic relations with Morocco.

India FTA heading for twelfth round

The UK and India have concluded the eleventh round of talks for a trade deal between the two countries, a government statement has reported.

Business and trade minister Kemi Badenoch and international trade minister Nigel Huddleston met their Indian contemporary, Piyush Goyal, to discuss the negotiations and wider trade and investment opportunities.

The focus was on “addressing trade barriers, promoting investments and fostering greater co-operation in areas such as technology, innovation and intellectual property rights,” Reuters reports.

Technical discussions across nine policy areas have been held over 42 separate sessions, as the countries attempt to reach a deal in negotiations begun under former prime minister Boris Johnson, which faltered ahead of a deadline of last October.

Talks have continued to progress slowly, with politically sensitive topics, such as immigration, stumbling blocks to agreement, and forthcoming elections in both countries possibly delaying any agreement.

A twelfth round of negotiations is due to take place over the coming months.

Turkey talks ‘good for food’

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has welcomed an updated trade deal with Turkey that could let UK farmers sell more high-quality, sustainable food such as lamb and dairy produce.

Announced last week, negotiations on an updated trade deal are expected to begin next year.

NFU president, Minette Batters, said: “If we are granted greater access to the Turkish market, I am confident our traceability, food production and safety standards would be very well received by consumers there and we could see the value of our exports grow.”

The existing agreement means exporters face 100% duty on lamb carcasses and 225% on specific cuts, while cheese exports to Turkey already exceed the duty free tariff-rate quota of 333 metric tonnes.

Tariffs on poultry supplies of day-old chicks could also be removed or reduced, the NFU hopes.

Enhanced Taiwan deal talks

The UK and Taiwan are to begin working toward preliminary talks on an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) that will focus initially on investment, digital trade and energy, reports Focus Taiwan.

Statements from both governments did not say when they would start work on the ETP, but the UK will co-host the 26th annual Trade Talks with Taiwan later this year.

The annual talks were held in Taiwan in late 2022, when the UK and Taiwan discussed barriers to trade in sectors such as fintech, food and drink and pharma, aimed at helping more UK firms export to and invest in Taiwan.

Taiwan is the UK’s 10th largest trading partner in Asia, with bilateral trade worth $1.97bn between January and April 2023, according to Taiwan government data.

Talks are likely to provoke a strong reaction from China, which has territorial claims on the island and was furious when former prime minister Liz Truss recently gave a speech there, reports the Daily Express.

Morocco could be an African gateway for UK

Former trade minister, James Duddridge, has urged the UK to build a stronger trade relationship with Morocco, using it as a “gateway to Africa”.

Duddridge called for an “improved and updated agreement” with Morocco to encompass service industries, including education and healthcare.

“Negotiations should start towards a comprehensive free trade agreement, promoting increased trade in goods and services, much greater FDI and securing broad liberalisation of tariffs on a mutually beneficial basis,” he wrote in Politics Home.

The signing of a Morocco-UK Association Agreement in 2019 rolled over the UK’s trade arrangement from the EU and saw bilateral trade double in just 12 months.

Trade minister Nigel Huddleston said the UK is “absolutely committed” to enhancing trade with Morocco, with which it had about £3.1bn-worth of bilateral trade in 2022, up nearly 50% on 2021.