India-UK trade deal likely to be stuck over skilled worker access issue: Report
The India-UK trade deal is unlikely to meet the October deadline over the issue of access to thousands of Indian skilled workers, media reports said.
The UK wants to narrow the movement of skilled workers, which would tilt the proposed trade deal in Britain's favour and wouldn’t be a win-win for both nations, Bloomberg reported citing people aware of the matter.
With this deal, India is also looking to recover a billion pounds in payments made by Indian workers toward Britain’s social security system as part of the deal, people familiar with the matter said, stated the report.
Last week, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman raised concerns over migration from India, which prompted the Indian government to say both nations should “honor” the “understanding” with regard to migration mobility.
The UK government will not “sacrifice quality for speed, and will only sign when we have a deal that meets both countries’ interests, a spokesperson for the Department for International Trade of the UK was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.
“We have a close, positive working relationship with India and a thriving trade partnership worth £24 billion in 2021. We continue to seek improvements to our current trading relationship. This is why we are negotiating a high-ambition Free Trade Agreement,” the spokesperson added.
India is also yet to agree to issues key to the UK such as lowering import duties on automobiles and Scotch whisky, which also happens to be one of Britain’s major demands, as the Indian government awaits headway on the passage of skilled workers.
The UK also wants India to exempt it from rules on data localization which affects sectors like financial services and allows greater access to India’s government contracts.
India has denied saying its domestic laws don't allow relaxation of data localization rule, the report said citing the people aware of the matter.
India and UK envisage the deal to double the trade by 2030.
The total trade between India and the UK stood at over $17 billion in 2021-22, according to Indian government data.