Hammond sweet-talks Delhi with prospect of trade deals as EU looks on warily

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By Robert Hackwill
Hammond sweet-talks Delhi with prospect of trade deals as EU looks on warily

Britain’s Finance minister Phillip Hammond, while forbidden to talk serious turkey in his globetrotting attempts to secure trade deals for the UK post-Brexit until after the UK has quit the EU, is doing his best to prepare the ground.

He has been exploring possible trade relationships far and wide, and is currently in the former jewel in the crown of empire, India. He has a new slogan, “Build in India, finance in Britain”, and the two countries have set up a joint investment fund.

Indian firms now invest in Britain and the boot is on the other foot as the country rises and the former imperial master declines.

“We hope to be able to a negotiate a deep and special relationship with the European Union that will allow us to go on trading together, go on investing in each other’s economy, but at the same time, allow us to rebuild our relationships with our partners and allies around the world,” said Hammond.

India’s finance minister expects the two will do business together, but in a partnership of equals.

“UK post-Brexit is looking at a different level of relationship with India. And there is a huge aspiration in India itself also to add to and improve upon that relationship,” said Arun Jaitley.

Many nations, even without entry to the wider EU market, will want to sell to the UK’s 60 million consumers. What is less clear is if many will rush to buy British products.