British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announced that she will be leading a trade delegation to India next month, as her government seeks new relationships after Britain leaves the European Union.
“I’ll be visiting India in early November and I’m pleased to say that I will be taking a trade delegation with me,” May told the House of Commons. “We’ll be focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises to try to ensure that we boost the relationships between smaller and medium-sized businesses here in the UK with the important Indian market.” Individual EU member states cannot hold bilateral talks on free trade deals with non-EU states as long as they remain part of the bloc. But updating lawmakers on last week’s European summit, May’s first since taking office following the June vote to leave the bloc, she said there could be “discussions”.
“There is a limit to what we can do in terms of entering into a trade arrangement before we’ve left the European Union, but that doesn’t mean we can’t scope out negotiations and start to have those discussions and indeed we are doing with a number of countries,” she said. May has said she intends to start formal negotiations on leaving the EU by the end of March, putting Britain on course to exit the bloc — and potentially the European single market — by early 2019.