Reports UK-India trade negotiations: why both countries must put development first


UK-India trade negotiations: why both countries must put development first

This report, launched to coincide with the original deadline set by UK and Indian leaders, calls for a pause in the pursuit of a trade agreement until the serious human rights situation in India is rectified. It also calls for both parties to ensure a future FTA is fully aligned with their commitments to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UK-India trade negotiations: why both countries must put development first report sets out the ways in which an FTA interacts with specific goals including those on: policy coherence for development, decent work for all; climate change and environmental protection; and gender equality. It identifies context-specific recommendations for the current UK-India FTA to support the realisation of those goals, as well as advocating for and extrapolating recommendations for a broader UK trade strategy. The report concludes with recommendations for a democratic and meaningful public and parliamentary scrutiny as an essential means of ensuring all FTAs are aligned with the SDGs.

This report recommends that the UK:

  • Does not progress an FTA any further until ongoing serious human rights abuses are addressed.
  • Commissions a third party to undertake robust impact assessments that include human rights, labour rights, gender equality and climate and environmental impacts.
  • Seeks to prevent or mitigate negative impacts identified in impact assessments.
  • Includes enforceable human rights obligations on businesses and investors and binding provisions on human rights, climate and the environment, including a monitoring process and dispute system.
  • Pays particular attention to the impact of the FTA on labour rights and seeks to shape the FTA so that it does not drive the expansion of insecure, poorly paid work in the UK or India.
  • Ensures that the FTA is fully aligned with the UK and India’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. The UK and India should consider inserting a climate waiver so that policies taken in pursuit of their climate commitments cannot be challenged under the trade agreement.
  • The agreement should recognise the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), include binding environmental provisions and ensure that it does not constrain either country’s ability to take important policy measures in support of climate commitments.
  • Takes steps to significantly improve the process for public engagement and parliamentary scrutiny of FTA negotiations and signed agreements.
  • Publishes a full trade strategy that sets out how UK trade policy will align with its other international commitments, in particular the SDGs.

Read the press release


UK-India FTA Trade and human rights Human rights commitments Sustainable development Sustainable Development Goals gender trade and climate change trade and development