India, UK to negotiate Free Trade Agreement

New Delhi: India and UK are aiming to launch the negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement. Both sides are looking for an Interim Agreement on priority basis followed by a Comprehensive Agreement by November 2021. The matter was discussed between Piyush Goyal and his British counterpart Secretary of State Elizabeth Truss on FTA and other trade matters on September 14 in New Delhi.

Proposed Free Trade Agreement between India and the UK is expected to unlock extraordinary business opportunities and generate jobs. Both sides have renewed their commitment to boosting trade in a manner which benefits both India and the UK.

Speaking on the occasion Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution said that there is tremendous interest in the business community in both countries about this Free Trade Agreement. Goyal said that since the ‘Declaration’ on launch of Enhanced Trade Partnership, announced by Prime Ministers on May 4, 2021, both countries have made substantial progress on various aspects of the partnership.

Goyal said that there is keenness to have an early conclusion of negotiations for quick and early economic benefits to businesses on both sides. Goyal added that substantial work has already been done and extensive stakeholder consultations have been held involving industry and business associations, export promotion councils, buyers and sellers associations, regulatory bodies, ministries and departments, public research bodies, etc. The consultation paper was also made public for wider participation as well.

Goyal said that he was hopeful that these discussions would help both sides in understanding each other’s policy regimes and would put us in a better position when both sides begin their Joint Scoping discussions, beginning  October 1, 2021, for finalizing the terms of references for launch of negotiations in November.

Goyal said that an Interim Trade Agreement, as a first step towards Free Trade Agreement would allow both of us to immensely benefit from the early gains of the partnership. He emphasised upon the need to strike a balance between commitments and concessions in goods and services.

 

 

Image courtesy of Photo courtesy -  Union Ministry for Commerce and Industry, India

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