Business

UK starts post-Brexit trade talks with India

Business Secretary Sajid Javid Image copyright EPA
Image caption Sajid Javid is looking to drum up extra business with India

Business Secretary Sajid Javid is visiting India for the first trade talks since Britain voted to leave the European Union.

Mr Javid has met Indian government officials in Delhi to discuss how the trading relationship with India might work after Brexit.

After the talks he said he was confident the relationship would get "stronger and stronger".

While in India, Mr Javid has also discussed the future of Tata Steel UK.

He will also visit the US, China, Japan and South Korea in the coming months.

India is the third biggest foreign investor in the UK, according to UK Trade and Investment.

Total trade between the two countries was £16.55bn last year, the government body said.

Does Britain have to leave the EU before it makes a trade deal?

More negotiators

To help redraw those trade relationships, the UK government this week announced plans for a new team of up to 300 specialist staff, including trade negotiators, by the end of the year.

However, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond admitted on Thursday the UK would rely on "friendly governments" to help bolster its staff.

Indian businesses in the UK

110,000

people employed by Indian companies operating in the UK

  • 12 Indian companies each employ more than 1,000 people in the UK

  • 69,000 work for Tata Group, which owns 5 of those 12 firms

  • 33,000 of those work for Tata Motors, which owns Jaguar Land Rover

"The government will have to acquire additional trade negotiation resources," Mr Hammond told a committee of MPs.

"We will look to friendly governments to assist us, as well as seeking to hire the best resources available on the open market."

Brexit supporters argue the UK will be able to negotiate better trade deals with fast-growing economies such as India than it currently has as an EU member.

Trading partners

The EU has trade agreements with 52 countries and it is expected the UK will need to re-negotiate these as part of Brexit.

Commonwealth countries accounted for about 10%, or £47.8bn, of UK exports in 2014, whereas about 44%, or £228.9bn, were with the EU.

Indian-owned companies employ about 110,000 people in the UK and grew revenue by £4bn to £26bn last year, according to a report by Grant Thornton.

Tata Motors, which owns Jaguar Land Rover, added an extra 4,000 jobs to employ nearly 33,000 people, the report said.

Meanwhile, sister business, Tata Global Beverages, which owns Tetley Tea, employs more than 1,000 UK workers.

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