Farming News - NFU responds to call for input on future UK-India trade deal

NFU responds to call for input on future UK-India trade deal

09 Sep 2021
Frontdesk / Finance

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has issued a consultation document on the future trading relationship between the UK and India. Find out more about our response to the consultation and our next steps.

UK agricultural producers could benefit from increased access to the Indian market and we hope, if negotiated, a free trade agreement (FTA) will provide further opportunities for British farmers to sell more great British food overseas.

NFU President Minette Batters said:

“A trade deal with India poses many opportunities for UK farmers to sell more quality, sustainable British food overseas. If we are granted greater access to the Indian market, which at the moment is limited, I am confident that our traceability, food production and safety standards would be very well received by consumers.

“However, we must at the same time ensure that UK farmers and growers are not undercut by food imports that have been produced using methods and inputs that are illegal here.

“Negotiating with a developing country presents unique challenges, and UK negotiators should seek a trade agreement which supports international development and promotes fair and equitable trading conditions for farmers on both sides.”

India has a growing middle class – which is predicted to be at 80% of the population by 2030 – many of which have a desire for international products.

This, coupled with the rise of tourism and the greater number of branded franchises making inroads into India, means there is potential to increase exports of high-quality British produce. The UK has an opportunity to export more of our high-quality lamb, pork (for the parts of the population whose religious diets allow), dairy, organic and processed products.

In the UK, we can demonstrate safe, traceable, and audited food supply chains. This means ‘Brand Britain’ should have great potential to win market share if access is provided.

India's Preferential access

However, India is among the top 10 agricultural exporters globally. This includes commodities such as:

  • Eggs
  • Horticulture products
  • Sugar

India already enjoys preferential access to the UK market via the Generalised Scheme of Preference (GSP) for certain key commodities.

Any agreement must ensure our farmers and growers are not undercut by allowing in agri-food imports that would be illegal to produce domestically.

Trade Barriers

Currently, UK businesses are met with considerable trade barriers when exporting to India – both tariffs and non-tariff barriers.

These barriers reduce UK business’ ability to trade into the market efficiently.

We have asked, therefore, that in the UK-India FTA, efforts should be made to not only liberalise the Indian market but also reduce the non-tariff barriers to trade for UK business.

To make the most of the opportunity presented by the Indian market the government must be prepared to invest in market promotion and development.

This includes a requirement for advisors on the ground in India who can talk to the various bodies, ports, retailers, and inspectors to ensure any UK exports reach the Indian consumers as quickly and economically as possible.