The Bar Council has joined calls for the UK Government to continue negotiations to secure a meaningful free trade agreement with India, rather than rushing negotiations in order to meet a tight, self-imposed deadline.

In a joint letter to International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Bar Council, the Law Society, the City of London Corporation, and a host of UK business representatives state: “It is the content of the deal which matters for UK businesses, not speed of negotiation…

“We … urge the Government and its negotiators to hold out for a commercially meaningful and comprehensive deal, even if doing so means that the self-imposed deadline of Diwali is not met.”

Commenting, Mark Fenhalls QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“As we set out in the joint letter, a new free trade agreement with India represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so it’s important to get the details right.

“Legal services are an economic powerhouse and already contribute £60 billion a year to the UK economy. Our sector must be given the attention it deserves as part of these negotiations, even if that means going beyond the current deadline.”

The full list of signatories to the joint letter:
Bar Council of England and Wales
Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Chemical Industries Association
City of London Corporation
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Law Society of England and Wales
Professional and Business Services Council (Business-side)
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry