New Delhi, Jan 13: After the formal launch of the negotiations between India and the UK for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two nations here on Thursday, British International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said that the UK is broadening its economic horizons and forging stronger partnerships with the fastest-growing economies of the world.’

“As an independent, deal-making nation, the UK is broadening its economic horizons and forging stronger partnerships with the fastest-growing economies of the world. India marks the start of our ambitious 5-star year for UK trade and will show how the deals we negotiate boost the economies across all nations and help level up all regions of the UK,” Trevelyan said.

Trevelyan is on a two-day visit to India to officially launch negotiations on a new, ambitious FTA, which is supposed to create huge benefits for both the countries and could boost India-UK bilateral trade by up to 28 billion pounds a year by 2035.

The first round of negotiations is expected to start next week — making it the UK’s quickest start of formal talks between negotiating teams following a launch, a demonstration of the strength of the UK-India relationship.

The UK-India economic relationship is already strong and bilateral trade totalled over 23 billion pounds in 2019, supporting nearly half-a-million jobs in each other’s economies.

In May 2021, the Prime Ministers of the two nations had set the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade over the next decade through the ‘2030 Roadmap’ plan, Trevelyan said.

“A deal with India is a golden opportunity to put UK businesses at the front of the queue, as the Indian economy continues to grow rapidly. By 2050, India will be the world’s third largest economy with a middle class of almost 250 million shoppers. We want to unlock this huge new market for our great British producers and manufacturers across numerous industries, from food and beverages to services and automotive,” Trevelyan added.

A deal between the UK and India will enable both economies to diversify, strengthen supply chains, and position India as a trusted trade partner in the region. India is at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region, where half the world’s people live and 50 per cent of global economic growth is produced, she said.

A new economic partnership with India, alongside UK membership of the massive Asia-Pacific trading bloc, CPTPP, will create a pillar in the region supporting free and fair trade, she added.