Cameron invokes India in anti-Brexit debate

British Prime Minister David Cameron has invoked increasing trade with India as part of his plea to the public to vote to remain in the EU in Thursday's crucial referendum, saying the UK could do more with the country but cutting off from the main market would be "economic madness".

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 20, 2016, 16:56 PM IST
Cameron invokes India in anti-Brexit debate

London: British Prime Minister David Cameron has invoked increasing trade with India as part of his plea to the public to vote to remain in the EU in Thursday's crucial referendum, saying the UK could do more with the country but cutting off from the main market would be "economic madness".

Cameron was taking questions from the audience last night as part of a special BBC 'Question Time' show when he said, "The rise of countries like India and China...[means we have] big economies that we need to trade with more. But European trade and European economies have grown a great amount since we joined in 1972".

He said Britain could "do more with India" but not at the expense of cutting itself off from the EU.

Responding to a question on why the share of EU world trade had dropped from 20 to 15 per cent, he said, "It has dropped as a share of the total but as an entity it has increased".

Cameron also said that about 80 per cent of Britain's economy is services, things like insurance and banking and architecture and sales and advertising etc.

"We sell more in services today to Luxembourg than we do to the whole of India. Of course, we need to do better with India; we need a trade deal with India. But the idea that we should cut ourselves off from our main market, I think is economic madness. We need to work to succeed in our main market and then open up the other markets," he said.

About 45 per cent of the UK's exports go to EU with its exports to the bloc accounting for 227 billion pounds and imports accounting for 288 billion pounds in 2014.

The debate for Britain's future with the 28-member economic bloc enters its final stages this week with just three days to go before the crucial referendum.

With opinion polls reflecting a very close contest between the side in favour to remain and those in favour of an exit, so-called Brexit, some of the UK's senior-most entrepreneurs and professionals today came out strongly for remain.