UK–India free trade agreement: Scrutiny of the Government’s Negotiating Objectives Contents

Chapter 2: The agreement

29.This chapter considers the Government’s key Negotiating Objectives as stated in the Strategic Approach document and the opportunities and risks that may arise in an agreement with India.

Goods trade

30.India has a high and frequently amended tariff regime, with the highest average applied tariff of any G20 country and some of the highest bound tariff rates among WTO members.28 The average tariff on UK goods exported to India in 2021 was 18.7%—a 5% increase from 13.4% in 2016.29

31.By contrast, the average tariff on Indian goods imported into the UK is around 4.2%—and are more predictable.30 The majority of Indian exports to the UK are conducted through the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) system,31 which provides developing countries with preferential access through lower or zero tariffs on certain goods.32 India is classified as a lower-middle income country and around 66% of the tariff lines are thus eligible.33 However, this is shrinking because GSP preferential tariffs are withdrawn when goods become internationally competitive. For example, between 2014–17 over 15% of imports from India ‘graduated’ from the GSP.34 The UK and India therefore start negotiations from very different positions: while 66% of Indian exports to the UK face zero tariffs (as a result of GSP), only 3% of UK exports to India can enter without tariffs.35

32.The Government Objectives are to secure broad liberalisation on tariffs, on a mutually beneficial basis, considering UK product sensitivities; secure comprehensive access for UK industrial and agricultural goods in India; and develop simple rules of origin that reflect UK industry requirements and supply chains.36 It believes that transport equipment, vehicles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and whisky could see a particular boost in exports.37 However the Government notes that our textile industry and certain agriculture and food sectors could see import competition.38

33.Tariffs are not the only costs on goods, with national and state level taxes also imposed. A good example came in 2021 when India reduced the whisky tariff from 150% to 50% but introduced an equivalent domestic tax.39 Thus, while an FTA with India presents the UK with an opportunity to lower and lock in more predictable tariffs, the value of this needs to be carefully considered.

34.The UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex (UKTPO) emphasised that despite India having preferential access through the GSP scheme, the UK could make valuable negotiation offers on goods not covered by the GSP, and further reductions on those which are covered.40 For example, textiles, cars and chemicals from India were graduated from 2021 until 2022 and can potentially be extended.41 The Government should push for substantial and widespread tariff concessions from India, while making generous offers in return.

35.While improving market access would benefit UK exporters, it is important to recognise that the challenging business climate (Chapter 2) may limit its value. The Federation of Small Businesses and the Scotch Whisky Association told us that India’s customs procedures are lengthy and unclear.42 Any trade agreement with India should therefore seek to make these simple and transparent.

36.India applies complex Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) rules to imports, which witnesses say act as a trade barrier to UK exporters.43 The Government’s Objectives for the negotiations on SPS rightly focus on “seeking enhanced commitments for dialogue, co-operation and transparency on sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which may present challenges to business”.44 The National Farmers Union wants Government to invest heavily in market promotion and development, and be in constant dialogue with the various Indian bodies, inspectors and ports.45

37.India’s regulatory environment differs significantly from that of the UK—and that of other new trade agreement partner countries. The British Standards Institution (BSI) argued against recognising Indian goods standards as equivalent or compliant. They told us that only 30% of Indian standards were harmonised with international standards and regulations have been traditionally used by the Indian government to favour domestic producers and self-sufficiency. Given the “very real differences and incompatibilities between India and the UK’s approach to regulation and the use of standards, it is important that any TBT [technical barriers to trade] provisions agreed with India do not impact the UK’s successful model of standards shaped by stakeholders including the very strong influence of consumers.”46

38.The Negotiating Objectives state that the Government will “ensure high standards and protections for UK consumers and workers” which includes “not compromising on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards, as well as maintaining our right to regulate in the public interest”.47

39.However, Which? raised concerns about the differences in standards and, consequently, risks to consumer protection.48 The Objectives state that the Government is pursuing “commitments on the protection of core consumer rights”49 as part of the negotiations, although they do not define what is meant by “core” consumer rights, nor an indication of how this may be achieved.

40.India has significantly lower standards regarding animal welfare and environmental protection in agriculture.50 The Alliance to Save our Antibiotics raised concerns relating to the overuse of antibiotics on Indian farms, as well as antimicrobial resistance. It is unclear how UK standards will be maintained in the absence of reliable data on antibiotics usage and traceability systems in India,51 made more challenging by the variation in regulation and quality of governance across India’s states.52 The Scottish Government told us:

“It is vital that Scotland retains the right to apply provisional risk management measures, in line with the precautionary principle, to imports from India where possible risks to public health and/or plant life or health are identified but scientific uncertainty persists, in line with article 5 of the WTO SPS Agreement.”53

41.The Government must ensure that in striking a trade deal with India, standards and UK consumer protections are not undermined, while ensuring that TBTs are addressed to make processes simpler for UK businesses.

Conclusions and recommendations

42.A trade agreement should include the substantial reduction of Indian tariffs and other charges on UK goods.

43.There are concerns about the business environment of India. As a result, the standard provisions in customs and trade facilitation, TBT and SPS will not be sufficient for UK businesses. The Government must go further in lowering ‘at and behind the border’ barriers to ensure that UK businesses are not disadvantaged in the Indian market.

44.While consumers may benefit from trade deals through cheaper goods and greater choice, the Government should not agree regulatory equivalence that would result in reduced standards or lower consumer protection.

Services trade and mobility

45.The Negotiating Objectives for services are for ambitious commitments from India on market access and fair competition for UK exporters; ambitious rules for all services sectors as well as sector-specific rules; certainty for UK exporters, and transparency on Indian services regulation. All of these will be important, as the Scoping Assessment notes that India has a relatively high level of regulatory restrictions affecting trade in services, digitally enabled services, and foreign direct investment (FDI). Existing market access commitments on professional services under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) are very limited and India has significant restrictions on foreign nationals providing professional services.54

46.Greater market access and lower barriers for services could open the way to significant opportunities for our sectors. The strong growth of the middle class suggests greater demand for services, from insurance to healthcare and education. However, it is unclear how big the gains could be for UK firms, and we note that the Scoping Assessment focuses more on goods. This is surprising, given the importance of services to the UK economy. Sophie Hale of the Resolution Foundation emphasised the importance of services trade with India and stated that it is “underplayed” in the Government’s analysis. 55

47.Services organisations have made specific requests. The Professional and Business Services Council Trade Technical Group want a trade agreement with India to facilitate the recognition of professional and academic qualifications or the ability to practice under home title.56 The Law Society of Scotland stated that foreign lawyers cannot practice law in India or be enrolled there and are only permitted to provide legal advice on foreign law on a ‘casual’ visit which is allowed on a case-by-case basis.57 TheCityUK and the City of London Corporation want an agreement with India to establish financial regulatory dialogues and encourage UK and Indian regulators to consider aligned approaches to new financial services, such as fintech, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.58

48.Given that India is also a major services exporter, there are questions as to how UK and India services exports could be complementary. As for goods, it is not sufficient for any FTA with India to simply deliver theoretical advantages in services schedules. These must be backed up with real improvements to the business environment for UK companies.

49.Mobility is often seen as the main obstacle, as India usually seeks a generous offer for its workers, particularly for employees of services firms and self-employed service suppliers. The Government aims to “increase opportunities for UK business people to operate in India by enhancing opportunities for business travel”, but also “continue to preserve the integrity of the UK’s domestic immigration system”.59 It is unclear as to how these aims are compatible.

50.Witnesses argued for relaxed mobility rules in both countries to facilitate visa-free business travel for short periods as well as more consistent and simplified routes for highly skilled workers.60 In terms of the UK offer, the Professional and Business Services Council Trade Technical Group stated that the UK should establish a new mobility route that combines the controls of sponsorship with the flexibility of visitor routes. Witnesses from the fintech industry argued for preferential visa allocation to attract Indian talent to regional fintech clusters in the UK.61 The NHS Confederation stated that a trade agreement should facilitate the granting of visitor visas to undertake clinical services or health-related research.62

51.Going the other way, the Law Society of Scotland called for changes to the Indian visa system to open up the Indian market for legal services and stated that an FTA should build on mobility commitments made by India under the ASEAN-India FTA.63

52.There have been press reports that India is seeking a social security agreement as part of the negotiations, which would exempt certain Indian workers in the UK from making National Insurance contributions.64 This is not covered in the Government’s Strategic Approach, and the Secretary of State for International Trade did not wish to comment on this issue when she appeared before the Committee, citing the sensitivities of the negotiations.65

Conclusions and recommendations

53.There are opportunities for the UK to secure greater market access in services—in particular as India does not have any commitments at WTO level with regards to legal, accounting and audit services. However, India’s lack of WTO services commitments and domestic regulatory framework also point towards the challenges of securing a deep agreement on services. The Government should prioritise improvements that provide a solid environment for UK business.

54.There are other improvements that could be delivered on mutual recognition of qualifications, and financial services regulatory dialogues. We call on the Government to provide a more detailed view of the services benefits from this FTA, including a consideration of the complementarities between the UK and Indian services sectors.

55.Mobility is important to services economies, and it is therefore right that both the UK and India have substantive demands in this area. However, the Government’s approach to mobility schemes and the temporary movement of business people between the UK and India in an FTA remains unclear, including on the limits of access, and should be clarified.

56.The Negotiating Objectives do not set out the Government’s position on alleged Indian demands to exempt certain Indian workers from making National Insurance contributions in the UK. If the Government intends to agree to those demands, it must conduct an impact assessment. We call on the Government to spell out the likely costs, to what extent Indian workers would have access to UK benefits, and the implications for other non-British nationals working in the UK.


57.The Negotiating Objectives state the Government will aim to create new opportunities for UK investors in India, while addressing existing barriers and maintaining the UK’s right to regulate. Objectives include providing protections to UK investors and guaranteeing that they receive fair and non-discriminatory treatment, ensuring access to adequate remedies.66 However, they provide no real basis for understanding how this will be achieved given the known context of investment difficulties in India.

58.The Association of British Insurers said that while “India increased the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap for insurers from 49% to 74% in 2021 … the rules also set out several restrictions on the management and control criteria for Indian insurance companies”.67 Respondents to DIT’s consultation on highlighted market access barriers which should be addressed in an FTA, including FDI caps in certain sectors and restrictions that overly limit UK businesses’ ability to exercise control over their investments.68 There have been high profile tax disputes involving Cairn Energy and Vodafone, where, after lengthy legal battles, the Indian government has been found to have violated the fair and equitable treatment standard by imposing taxes retrospectively. Despite this, India has persistently challenged the arbitration awards and is reportedly seeking to settle the disputes by offering to refund taxes already paid, but only in return for undertakings that the companies will stop all litigation.69

59.The UK and India each have substantial investments in the other. Investments were protected through a bilateral investment treaty in 1994, but this was terminated by the Indian government in 2016.70 Investments made before this date continue to be protected for 15 years after termination.

60.India withdrew from many of its Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) in 2017 and has adopted a Model Bilateral Investment Treaty which considerably restricts the ability of foreign investors to challenge decisions using Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms.71 The Negotiating Objectives make no mention of this. Since this is an obvious starting point for discussions, and a fixed point around which stakeholders could comment, this should have been included. They are silent on whether the Government will be seeking the inclusion of ISDS in the agreement.

61.India is one of the highest respondent states in ISDS. Some argue that ISDS cases against India have been brought because the Indian Government has acted in bad faith, using its power to amend laws without due process or to row back on assurances.72 We are aware many UK stakeholders, particularly NGOs, however, believe the UK should not seek the inclusion of ISDS provisions, as these can have a chilling effect on public interest regulation. Given the absence of successful challenges to the UK Government under ISDS, but the substantial issues facing UK investors in India, there is good reason for including ISDS in this agreement.

Conclusions and recommendations

62.The Government should seek provisions that ease restrictions on foreign direct investments in India and strengthen protections for investors.

63.There is a strong case for including investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in an agreement with India, yet the Government does not mention ISDS in its Negotiating Objectives.

64.We call on the Government to clarify its overall policy towards ISDS, on other mechanisms for investment protection, and whether it is seeking ISDS in its FTA with India (as we believe it should). Whichever mechanism is put in place, it must be independent and enforceable.

Digital trade and data

65.The Negotiating Objectives state that the Government will “pursue a comprehensive digital chapter” to include “commitments on free and trusted cross-border data flows, prevent unjustified data localisation, and maintain the UK’s high standards for personal data protection”.73 Witnesses noted India’s protectionist approach towards data and digital regulations.74 While those from the services sectors told us an agreement with India should include provisions allowing cross-border data flows, Which? raised concerns regarding the protection of UK citizens’ data.75 This will be key to successful outcomes for the implementation of the deal.

66.Data protections will be difficult given India does not have a comprehensive data privacy law. Since the Indian Supreme Court ruled in 2017 that citizens had a fundamental right to privacy, the Indian government has been considering its response. A draft Personal Data Protection Bill was proposed in 2018 to regulate the collection, storage, transfer and use of personal data. However, there have been several re-writes and the bill has yet to become law.76 It is unclear whether the Indian government would be able to accept data protection clauses in an FTA in the absence of such a bill, and whether the UK Government would settle for non-inclusion in the hope of later discussions.

Conclusions and recommendations

67.UK businesses make a strong case for the inclusion in FTAs of provisions which ban the localisation of data and support cross-border data flows, while consumer groups rightly seek to ensure that UK citizens’ personal data will be protected. However, provisions preventing unjustified data localisation and allowing the free flow of data in India would require changes to India’s domestic legislation, and would require a complicated and lengthy process. We call on the Government to explain how it is aiming to deliver UK business and consumer interests in this context.

Intellectual property (IP)

68.The Negotiating Objectives on IP are typical in that they state that the aim is to ensure rights holders receive protection and fair renumeration for the use of their works abroad, whilst ensuring reasonable and fair access for consumers; secure patent and copyright provisions that support UK creative industries; secure protection for brands and design intensive goods; promote the enforcement of IP rights; remain consistent with the UK’s existing international obligations including the European Patent Convention, Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)77; seek protection of UK Geographical Indications (GIs)78 in India and protect the UK’s existing IP regime.79

69.Achieving all these aims would mean a significant departure from India’s current approach. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys emphasised that IP protection in India is “difficult to obtain” and “even harder to enforce” and that it is “arguably not even compliant with the minimum standards set by the WTO’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual property Rights (TRIPS)”.80 The NHS Confederation told us that improper use of the highly prized NHS ‘brand’ has been a problem in collaborative ventures between the NHS organisations and their Indian counterparts.81

70.The Alliance for Intellectual Property called for the Government to seek stronger IP protections in India with regards to statutory licensing, copyright term, technical protection measures, no-fault injunctive relief, collecting societies, artist resale right, camcording in cinemas, and effective enforcement of IP rights.82 The status and protections afforded by Geographical Indications are important to some agricultural producers and we note that the EU has started talks with India on the subject, suggesting that securing GI status may be possible.

71.While the Negotiating Objectives list high level aims of securing effective protections for rights holders, it is far from clear how the Government is seeking to address the inadequacies in India’s domestic IP system.

72.The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and the Trade Justice Movement stated that India’s existing IP regime has allowed its pharmaceutical and healthcare sector to provide affordable generic medicines to the global market and noted the risks of the UK seeking IP provisions that go beyond the WTO TRIPS agreement.83 The NHS Confederation also stressed that India supplies a high proportion of the UK’s generic medicines.84 The Negotiating Objectives state that government would “secure patent provisions which achieve an effective balance between rewarding research and innovation, whilst reflecting wider public interests such as ensuring access to medicines”.85 While welcoming this approach, we note the Government has not provided any information on how this could be achieved, and we invite the Government to do so.

Conclusions and recommendations

73.India’s intellectual property (IP) regime provides significantly fewer protections than the UK’s IP regime. A trade agreement should commit India to strengthening its IP protections, but we note that there are limits to what can be achieved in the short term.

74.We welcome that the Government is seeking a balance between securing patent provisions while reflecting wider public interests, including the production of affordable medicines by India. We invite the Government to explain how this balance can be achieved.

75.In line with other FTAs, we welcome the Government’s ambition to ensure protection for UK Geographical Indications (GIs).

Environment and climate

76.The Government’s Objectives include measures to maintain the integrity and protection of the UK’s climate and environment legislation; ensure Parties reaffirm international commitments including the Paris Agreement; ensure Parties do not waive domestic climate and environment protections to create a competitive advantage; and provisions that support the Government’s ambition on environment, climate and achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050.86

77.Energy consumption in India has more than doubled since 2000, and its growing population, industrialisation and urbanisation will only increase demand in the coming years.87 In 2020, over 70% of India’s electricity generation was fuelled by coal and it was the world’s third-largest coal producer.88 There is a large gap between the UK and India’s approach to coal, which was noticeable during the discussions held at the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021.89 Although the Indian Government has set a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2070, it has resisted setting emissions reduction targets, arguing that developed countries should bear a larger burden of emissions reductions.

78.There is an opportunity to leverage the trade relationship to increase co-operation and support on climate and the environment. We note, for example, the UK (alongside the US and the EU) have signed an International Just Energy Transition Partnership90 with South Africa to support its decarbonisation efforts, and suggest the Government consider offering similar support to India.

79.The Government’s Scoping Assessment estimates that an FTA with India would increase greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 0.08–0.14%.91 These figures do not include potential increases in transport emissions or emissions related to UK consumption.92 Separately, the Government estimates that transport emissions between the two countries will increase by 18–36%, but it is unclear why this is not factored into the overall GHG emissions.93 It notes that the possible impact on carbon leakage, in which goods produced in the UK are displaced by goods imported from India which have a higher carbon footprint, is uncertain, but that there are some risks in textiles and apparel trade. Deforestation is a major problem in India, though the Government notes that the impact of a trade agreement on deforestation rates is difficult to estimate.94 It is surprising to see no mention of India’s continuing role as a major coal producer, user and exporter.

80.Witnesses expressed concern regarding the potential increases in GHG emissions under the agreement.95 Friends of the Earth stated that the Government must make clear how it will address these increases to meet the UK’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.96 They pointed out that that the Government does not suggest any mitigation measures in relation to this or the significant likely increase in textiles imports from India which may cause greater water pollution and biodiversity loss in India.97

81.It is unclear how India’s environmental regulations compare to those of the UK, and therefore whether the Government’s aim to “ensure that parties do not waive or fail to enforce their domestic environment and climate protections in ways that create an artificial competitive advantage”98 is of particular value. As we have noted, the Negotiating Objectives are not sufficiently detailed to allow us to reach conclusions as to whether they are appropriate.

Conclusions and recommendations

82.The Negotiating Objectives on climate and the environment are overly generic and appear to lack ambition. We welcome the commitment to reaffirm both countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement. But greenhouse gas emissions are likely to rise as a result of the FTA and the Government should set out how it plans to mitigate them.

83.We call on the Government to provide an estimate of the potential carbon leakage that may result from an FTA with India.

84.The Government should include transport emissions and carbon leakage in its estimate of the change in overall greenhouse gas emissions associated with a UK-India FTA (and any other FTAs).

85.The trade relationship offers an opportunity to collaborate with India on the environment and climate. The environment and climate chapter should include a commitment to collaborate on carbon emissions trading schemes in the future. It would be helpful to understand how the Government’s priorities on international trade link into its broader environmental and climate objectives. As we noted in our report on the UK-Australia FTA, a lack of tie-up of trade policy with the UK’s climate objectives is again apparent.

86.The Government should consider how it can support India’s decarbonisation efforts.

87.The Government should negotiate traceability provisions to guard against the import of goods linked to deforestation.

Labour, human and women’s rights, and development

88.The Government Objectives reaffirm the UK’s international commitments; provide assurances that both Parties will not waive their domestic labour protections so as to create a competitive advantage; and provide appropriate mechanisms for the implementation, monitoring and dispute resolution of labour provisions.99

89.India clearly has weaker labour laws than the UK. Witnesses noted cases of wage theft in the textile sector, as well as labour abuses in tea supply chains, including forced labour, failure to pay the minimum wage, gender discrimination and suppression of freedom of association.100 It has also not ratified two of the eight fundamental conventions in the 1998 International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work—on the freedom to join a union and to bargain collectively.101

90.Although the Negotiating Objectives aim to recognise the importance of upholding protections on gender equality, promote women’s access to the full benefits and opportunities of the agreement and co-operate on barriers which exist disproportionately for women in trade,102 witnesses cited widespread discrimination against women in India.103

Conclusions and recommendations

91.The generic Negotiating Objectives on labour do not go into sufficient detail. It is unclear whether the Government is seeking to encourage better labour conditions in India, despite the Objectives’ focus on the UK’s international commitments. Because of the lower levels of labour protections in India, it is unclear whether a non-regression objective is meaningful.

92.The Government should either seek to strengthen labour protections informally, through co-operation mechanisms established in the trade deal, or formally, by requiring minimum levels of protection. It should discuss options with stakeholders, including development organisations and trade unions.

Other chapters of interest

93.The Negotiating Objectives include procurement opportunities for UK businesses, as well as fair and transparent procurement processes.104 There are many barriers for UK businesses in accessing public procurement in India. Responses to the Government consultation indicated the difficulty in navigating the federal and state level government procurement rules, as well as the general lack of transparency and high upfront costs to securing a contract.105 The NHS Confederation told us that current procurement practices in India tend to favour domestic bidders, and that it would like to see NHS members be able to provide services without being required to establish a physical presence in India.106

94.The Government’s Objectives on trade remedies are to support market access while protecting against unfair trading practices.107 The National Farmers Union (NFU) noted that India has unilaterally created rules and regulations that do not comply with the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, leading to various trade disputes.108 It is important that this chapter is therefore suitably robust.

95.The Objectives suggest that the Government is seeking a dedicated small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) chapter to facilitate co-operation between the UK and India on SME issues and provide online information resources to help SMEs navigate export requirements.109 While the Government is seeking commitments on the protection of core consumer rights and in relation to specific areas such as digital trade, they do not propose a dedicated consumer chapter. Unsurprisingly, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed an SME chapter110, while consumer rights group Which? wants a dedicated consumer chapter that provides clear expectations on consumer rights and protection legislation, and recognises the importance of cross-border consumer protections, regulatory co-operation and access to redress.111 It is not clear why the Government has chosen to push for dedicated chapters in some cases, but not in others.

96.While the Government’s Objectives include facilitating innovation and collaboration on shared global and economic challenges, they do not refer to an innovation chapter.112 Witnesses across a range of sectors and interests raised the importance of UK-India innovation and argued that a trade agreement should strengthen co-operation in research and innovation between the countries.113 They want a dialogue mechanism should be established which allows stakeholders and standards bodies to participate in discussions regarding the impacts of innovation on trade including regulatory approaches, commercialisation of new technology and supply chain resilience.114

97.The Government aims to deliver an agreement that supports its objectives on trade and development, and promote co-operation between the UK and India. It is aims to include provisions that address monitoring the impact of the FTA on developing countries outside the agreement, which we welcome. The Scoping Assessment estimates that there could be trade diversion which would impact developing countries in the region, particularly in textiles.115

Conclusions and recommendations

98.There are significant barriers to UK businesses accessing procurement opportunities in India, which the FTA will need to address. The Objective to secure “provisions to ensure that procurement processes are fair, open, transparent and accessible” comes across as both vague and unrealistic in its ambition given the Indian context.

99.We call on the Government to include a dedicated consumer chapter, as well as a chapter on innovation that focuses on strengthening co-operation.

100.The Government should consider the trade diversion impacts on India’s neighbouring developing countries and any possible mitigating measures that it could take.

28 United States International Trade Administration, Country Commercial Guides: India - market challenges (October 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

29 Strategic Approach, p 46

30 DIT, An information note for the consultation relating to a Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and India (May 2021), p 5: [accessed 20 July 2022]

31 The Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) provides trade preferences, via reduced or zero tariffs, on imports from eligible developing countries into the UK. The UK decided to replicate the EU’s GSP at the end of the transition period. The GSP provides three tiers of tariff rates to eligible countries depending on their levels of economic development. These are: the Least Developed Countries Framework for countries classified as LDCs by the UN (zero tariffs on all goods except for arms and ammunition); the General Framework for countries classified by the World Bank as low to lower-middle income (reduced rates of import duty on certain goods); and the Enhanced Framework for countries classified by the World Bank as low to lower-middle income that are economically vulnerable due to low levels of integration with the international trading system (import duties on certain goods).

32 DIT, ‘Guidance: Trading with Developed Nations on 1 January 2022’: [accessed 20 July 2022]

33 Ibid.

34 Institute for Development Studies, ‘Voices on Inclusive Trade: The future of UK-India trade and development – part one’ (28 April 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

35 DIT, An information note for the consultation relating to a Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and India (25 May 2022), p 16: [accessed 20 July 2022]

36 Strategic Approach, p 11

37 The Scoping Assessment states that a deeper agreement could also see gains in beverages and tobacco products. It is not clear how increases trade in tobacco products would be beneficial of itself, as it runs counter to WHO and UK Government objectives on smoking cessation.

38 Strategic Approach, p 40

39 Mint, ‘India pre-empted UK demand on alcohol’ (17 March 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

40 Written evidence from the UKTPO (IND0036)

41 DIT, ‘UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP): goods graduation 2021 to 2022’ (17 December 2020): [accessed 20 July 2022]

42 Written evidence from the Federation of Small Businesses (IND0028) and the Scotch Whisky Association (IND0017)

43 Written evidence from the NFU (IND0025). India applies 236 SPS measures on UK exports, compared to the 4 that the UK applies to Indian imports.

44 Strategic Approach, p 11

45 Written evidence from the NFU (IND0025)

46 Written evidence from the British Standards Institution (BSI) (IND0033)

47 Strategic Approach, p 10

48 Written evidence from Which? (IND0013)

49 Strategic Approach, p 15

50 See written evidence from the NFU (IND0025), Dairy UK (IND0030), RSPCA (IND0004), Four Paws (IND0021), the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics (IND0022) and Friends of the Earth England and Wales (IND0018).

51 Written evidence from the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics (IND0022)

52 US International Trade Administration, ‘India: Country Commercial Guide’ [accessed 20 July 2022]

53 Written evidence from the Scottish Government (IND0039)

54 General Agreement on Trade in Services, India Schedule of Specific Commitments, GATS/SC/42 (15 April 1994): [accessed 20 July 2022]; written evidence from the Professional and Business Services Council Trade Technical Group (IND0015), the Law Society of Scotland (IND0010) and Association of British Insurers (IND0027).

55 Q 7 (Sophie Hale)

56 Written evidence from the Professional and Business Services Council Trade Technical Group (IND0015)

57 Written evidence from the Law Society of Scotland (IND0010)

58 Written evidence (joint submission) from TheCityUK and the City of London Corporation (IND0035)

59 Strategic Approach, p 12

60 Written evidence from the NHS Confederation (IND0001), the Professional and Business Services Council Trade Technical Group (IND0015), UKTPO (IND0036) and Dr Kwok Tong Soo, Senior Lecturer in Economics at Lancaster University (IND0009)

61 Written evidence from Professor Thankom Arun & Dr. Philip Kostov (IND0023)

62 Written evidence from the NHS Confederation (IND0001)

63 Written evidence from the Law Society of Scotland (IND0010)

64 Politico, ‘Indian demand on UK welfare payments could slow trade talks’ (18 January 2022): [accessed 20 July 2022]

65 Oral evidence taken before the International Agreements Committee on 13 July 2022 (Session 2022–23), Q 11 (Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP)

66 Strategic Approach, pp 13–14

67 Written evidence from the Association of British Insurers (IND0027)

68 Strategic Approach, p 29

69 ‘Singapore court has stayed India tax dispute proceedings under Dutch BIT: Vodafone’, The Economic Times (16 November 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

70 Written Answer UIN 12320, Session 2021-22

71 Brookings India, India’s Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (August 2018): [accessed 20 July 2022]

72 Prabhash Ranjan, ‘Investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases and India: affronting regulatory autonomy or indicting capricious state behaviour?’, Journal of International Trade Law and Policy, vol 21(1), pp 42–64: [accessed 20 July 2022]

73 Strategic Approach, p 13

74 Written evidence from the Association of British Insurers (IND0027), TechUK (IND0029), Federation of Small Businesses (IND0028) and Which? (IND0013)

75 Written evidence from Which? (IND0013)

76 ‘Fresh legislation may replace Data Protection Bill’, The Economic Times (17 Feb 2022): [accessed 20 July 2022]

77 WTO, ‘Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) (as amended on 23 January 2017)’: [accessed 20 July 2022]

78 A Geographical Indication (GI) is an intellectual property right for a food, drink or agricultural product that has a quality or characteristic which is attributable to a specific geographic origin. It therefore establishes a link between a product, its quality and place of production. Examples include Scotch whisky and Stilton blue cheese. If a product has GI status, similar products produced elsewhere or to different standards cannot be marketed with reference to the place of origin. So, for example, only cheese produced in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to specified standards can be referred to as Stilton blue cheese in the UK and the EU.

79 Strategic Approach, p 14

80 Written evidence from the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (IND0012)

81 Written evidence from the NHS Confederation (IND0001)

82 Written evidence from the Alliance for Intellectual Property (IND0037)

83 Written evidence from the Trade Justice Movement (IND0019)

84 Written evidence from the NHS Confederation (IND0001)

85 Strategic Approach, p 14

86 Strategic Approach, p 15

87 International Energy Agency, India Energy Outlook 2021 (February 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

88 BP, Statistical Review of World Energy: 2021 India’s energy market in 2020: [accessed 20 July 2022]

89 ‘India and China weaken pledge to phase out coal as COP26 ends’, Financial Times (13 November 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

90 Prime Minister’s Office, ‘Joint Statement: International Just Energy Transition Partnership’ (2 November 2021): [accessed 20 July 2022]

91 Strategic Approach, p 74

92 Ibid., p 79

93 Ibid., p 74

94 Ibid., p 80

95 Written evidence from Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (IND0018), and the Fairtrade Foundation (IND0034)

96 Written evidence from Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland (IND0018)

97 Strategic Approach, p 87

98 Ibid., p 15

99 Strategic Approach, pp 16–17

100 Written evidence from the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (IND0032)

101 Strategic Approach, p 72

102 Strategic Approach, p 17

103 Written evidence from the Trade Justice Movement (IND0019)

104 Strategic Approach, p 15

105 Strategic Approach, p 27

106 Written evidence from the NHS Confederation (IND0001)

107 Strategic Approach, p 17

108 Written evidence from the NFU (IND0025)

109 Strategic Approach, p 16

110 Written evidence from the Federation of Small Businesses (IND0028)

111 Written evidence from Which? (IND0013)

112 Strategic Approach, p 15

113 Written evidence from techUK (IND0029), TheCityUK and the City of London Corporation, Trade and Justice Movement (IND0019), the British Standards Institution (BSI) (IND0033), and the NHS Confederation (IND0001)

114 Written evidence from BSI and the NHS Confederation (IND0001)

115 Strategic Approach, p 71

© Parliamentary copyright 2022