Skip to main content

UK-India Free Trade Agreement

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 16 June 2022

As I said a moment ago, talks with India continue to be positive, and on Monday we welcomed Indian officials to London for the fourth round of negotiations. An FTA offers the opportunity to deepen our already strong relationship, which was worth over £24 billion last year. We are determined to grow that, creating jobs in every corner of the country, including in whisky distilleries across Scotland, on which 150% of tariffs and taxes must currently be paid in India.

The Republic of India has a respected independent legal system, and that will form part of the basis of the FTA between the UK and India. The Secretary of State will be aware of my constituent, Jagtar Singh Johal. What importance do the Minister and the Government place on a well-functioning legal system that respects human rights and the dignity of the individual when progressing free trade negotiations with states such as the Republic of India?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for what he says, and he has raised this issue with me in the past. Her Majesty’s Government are committed to working with the Government of India to resolve longstanding and complex consular cases such as this. The Foreign Secretary met the hon. Gentleman and the family of his constituent on 9 June, and she committed to continuing to raise those concerns with the Indian authorities. Our strong ties with India benefit British prosperity and security, and vice versa, but we are clear that increased trade need not come at the expense of our values.