G20 Summit receives full support from UK

UK High Commissioner expresses unwavering support for the upcoming G20 Summit, emphasising the shared ambition between the G20 Presidency and member nations…reports Asian Lite News

Alex Ellis, the UK High Commissioner expressed unwavering support for the upcoming G20 Summit, emphasising the shared ambition between the G20 Presidency and member nations.

Ellis’s remarks also underscored the UK’s commitment to boosting India’s efforts to expand the G20 and its eagerness to forge a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two nations.

Ellis noted that the G20 Summit is expected to echo the same level of ambition and determination seen during the G20 Presidency. He commended India’s aspiration to bring more countries into the G20 fold, indicating the UK’s steadfast support for this endeavor.

However, the High Commissioner acknowledged the complexities surrounding Russia’s stance since the Bali Summit, highlighting the challenges faced in assessing its position within the group.

Ellis also shed light on the broader discussions at hand, particularly those pertaining to global poverty and other substantial issues. He emphasised that the UK Prime Minister’s visit to India would primarily focus on G20-related matters but expressed hope for the opportunity to engage with talented Indians and prominent investors, further propelling the FTA discussions.

Addressing the FTA negotiations, Ellis highlighted their advanced stage, stating, “We got through most of the negotiations; we’re into the tough stuff now.” He elaborated on the key issues, including the protection of investments from both countries, tariff reductions to enhance trade, and opening up service markets, acknowledging their inherent challenges but expressing confidence in reaching agreements.

Underlining the UK’s commitment to prioritising the quality of the deal, Ellis revealed that the UK receives 30 percent of its visas from India and expressed a desire to witness more British talent contributing to India’s growth.

Jaishankar appreciates Cleverly’s wishes

Meanwhile, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a conversation with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and appreciated his regards for the success of the G20 Summit going to be held in New Delhi.

Taking to his social media ‘X’, he said, “Very nice to talk to UK Foreign Secretary @JamesCleverly. Deeply appreciate his good wishes for the success of the New Delhi G20 Summit.”

India is all set to host the G20 Summit in New Delhi from September 9-10. World leaders will arrive in New Delhi to attend the G20 Summit. Notably, India assumed the G20 presidency on December 1 last year and about 200 meetings related to G20 were organized in 60 cities across the country.

The 18th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in New Delhi will be a culmination of all the G20 processes and meetings held throughout the year among ministers, senior officials, and civil societies. A G20 Leaders’ Declaration will be adopted at the conclusion of the New Delhi Summit, stating Leaders’ commitment towards the priorities discussed and agreed upon during the respective ministerial and working group meetings.

Earlier in July, Jaishankar discussed regional and global issues with British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly at the ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Post-Ministerial Conference in Jakarta.

After meeting with the British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Thursday, Jaishankar took to his Twitter and said, “A broad-ranging discussion today with British Foreign Secretary @JamesCleverly. Spoke about the agenda of the ARF, including regional and global issues. Jointly assessed the progress in our bilateral exchanges. Brought up concerns pertaining to the security of our diplomats.”

Trade talks

The development comes as Rishi Sunak ruled out a quick-fix trade deal with India, making it impossible to get an agreement over the line in time for this week’s G20 summit in Delhi – and possibly even by next year’s elections.

Multiple sources close to the negotiations said the prime minister has rejected the idea of an “early harvest” deal, which could have lowered tariffs on goods such as whisky but would not have dealt with trickier subjects such as professional services.

The decision has scuppered any chance of an agreement being struck this week, before the prime minister meets his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in the Indian capital this weekend.

Many now believe a deal is impossible before both countries hold elections in 2024, although some in government still believe it could be reached later this year.

It means the prospect of a UK-India free trade agreement, long held up as one of the biggest possible opportunities for Britain after Brexit, remains distant.

One government source said: “There was talk last year of a deal by last Diwali, but that was only going to happen if it was a shallow deal based around a limited number of goods. Kemi Badenoch [the trade secretary] and Rishi Sunak have decided they don’t want to go down that route and so have taken a deadline off the table.”

Another person close to the negotiations added: “India wants to do an early agreement on goods, but the risk is that instead of being the start of a wider trade agreement, that becomes the end point and the UK doesn’t get any of the more fundamental things it wants.”

UK ministers have long held up a trade deal with India as one of the great potential prizes of Brexit. A Foreign Office official told Politico earlier this year that securing a deal was “the single biggest thing in 2023”, while Boris Johnson called the idea of a potential agreement “the biggest of them all”.

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