Kemi Badenoch
Britain's Secretary of State for Business and Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch Image Credit: AFP

London: The UK expects to reach a free trade deal with India and to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in 2023, Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said in an interview Friday.

Badenoch visited India in December in an effort to move forward with the deal, which aims to cut tariffs and open opportunities for UK services to operate in India. The UK had previously said it wanted to finalize the deal by the Hindu festival of Diwali last year.

“I’m expecting those to happen this year. What I’m not doing is setting a deadline because we’ve set artificial deadlines before and actually they’ve hindered rather helped negotiations,” Badenoch told Bloomberg News.

The minister played down the likelihood of a US free trade agreement, which was touted as a lead potential economic benefit of Brexit, saying that Washington isn’t currently working on any such deals. “They’re looking more inwards in terms of what they want to do with their economy,” Badenoch said, adding that the UK is working with them on a case-by-case basis. “If they’re not doing free trade agreements with anybody, we can’t force that.”

Badenoch, who spoke during a trip to Mexico where the UK is negotiating another deal, said the government didn’t have estimates on the potential economic benefits of her department’s efforts to secure bilateral agreements.