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Global Britain trade deal round up free trade agreements

Trade deal negotiations with India are continuing despite the current unrest at Westminster, but the governments target of a deal with India by Diwali (24 October) is very unlikely”.

Sources told the Times that hitting the Diwali deadline would have landed the UK with a decades long disadvantageous” deal.

Here the IOE&IT Daily Update looks at the latest state of play in the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal negotiations, leading with the latest from the India talks.

India latest

Indian demands for more visas had already reduced the scope of any agreement after home secretary Suella Braverman said she had concerns about Indians overstaying.

“I do have some reservations. Look at migration in this country — the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants,” Braverman told The Spectator.

Indian negotiators were also said to have demanded the imposition of onerous rules of origin” that would have meant significant British exports – such as cars and whisky – would not have easily benefitted from reduced import tariffs.

Negotiations started by former prime minister Boris Johnson in April targeted a doubling of bilateral trade by 2030, up from its current value of $31 billion, reports Reuters.

Apart from more visas, India wants to increase exports of leather, textiles, jewellery and food products to Britain, while the UK is keen to sell more whisky to India by reducing an import duty of 150%.

Indian car makers had proposed cutting the tax rate on imported automobiles from 60% to 100% to 30% as part of the agreement.

India Today reports that Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the Indian Ministry of External Affairs denied reports that the FTA negotiations have come to a halt.

Gulf negotiations

The UKs first round of trade negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have concluded, involving discussions of objectives for the agreement and the exchange of technical information.

Technical discussions were held across 29 policy areas over 33 sessions involving more than 100 UK negotiators, the government said.

Forbes reports that a free trade agreement with the six oil-rich Gulf states could add £1.6 billion to the UK economy and increase bilateral trade by 16% or more.

Chile support

The UK and Chile completed their third annual Trade Dialogue, noting that trade was worth £1.6 billion in the year to March 2022, an increase of 13% on the previous year.

Chile reaffirmed its support for UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to a government read out, which also reported a desire for joint work on areas such as the digital economy and future trade relations.

Israel innovation

Meanwhile, Matthew Salter, director at the Department for International Trade in the UK embassy in Tel Aviv, said he expects an Israel-UK trade deal within 6-12 months, reports Ctech.

A deal would focus on hi-tech services that the UK would not have been able do as part of the EU, he said.

There's no point in the UK negotiating an agreement with Israel if its not a very advanced, modern agreement,” he added.

Revisit response

Parliaments Environment Food and Rural Affairs committee has asked the government to re-consider its response to a report on the Australian trade deal, calling for a commitment to core standards on food safety and animal welfare for imports.

Committee chairman and Conservative MP Sir Robert Goodwill argued that the previous response did not engage with the central concern of UK farmers and producers about lower standards” food disadvantaging UK producers”, reports New Food Magazine.

It has written to the DIT and DEFRA saying a similar approach to future agreements with larger food exporting countries – such as Brazil and the USA – could have a much greater impact on the UK than the Australia deal.

Anti-bribery standards

The UK is also no longer a leading enforcer of anti-corruption legislation, slipping from being an ‘active enforcers’ to only being a ‘moderate’ enforcer.

This is according to a new report entitled 'Exporting Corruption 2022’ from Transparency International, a leading anti-corruption non-profit.

The report ranks the performances of the 47 leading exporting countries in how they enforce anti-bribery standards. These countries combine to produce to 84% of global exports.

It found that global standards have been slipping since 2018, with only two countries - the US and Switzerland - still considered 'active enforcers'.

The UK dropped to being a 'moderate' enforcer, joining the likes of Israel, Germany and France in this category, with the remaining 38 states falling into the 'limited' or 'no-to-little enforcement' categories.

The report categorises 'active enforcement' countries as acting as a major deterrent to foreign bribery, whilst those in 'moderate enforcement' show encouraging progress, but still insufficient deterrence.