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India-UK’s FTA top priority; next round of negotiations next month, says Piyush Goyal

India-UK Free Trade Agreement: The planned free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK is a top priority for both nations, and the next round of negotiations is expected to take place next month, according to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal.

He claimed that everything were moving along smoothly and would produce positive outcomes.

“We are all very well aware that it was progressing very fast until we had a little bit of a blip because of political happenings in the other country. Fortunately, we have a stable government. I believe in office now (in the UK) and I am already in touch with my (UK) counterpart. We are working together to possibly have an in person meeting also very soon but our teams are already engaged. Next month, the next round of negotiations are slated to happen,” Goyal said here at a steel industry event.

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According to him, the agreement needs the support of the sector and should be a fair, equitable, and balanced free trade agreement (FTA).

Additionally, he stated that there shouldn’t be any firm deadlines set for the conclusion of FTA negotiations because such accords need to be thoroughly considered, calibrated, and negotiated.

India-UK Free Trade Agreement

“With UK we are doing a comprehensive deal like the UAE .I assure you that it is a high priority of both countries. It has been reiterated in the meeting of the G20,” Goyal said.

The FTA negotiations between India and the UK were supposed to be finished by Diwali (October 24), however due to political changes in the UK, the deadline was missed. The agreement is divided into 26 chapters, which include investments, commodities, services, and intellectual property rights.

The pact’s reduction or elimination of customs duties would benefit India’s labor-intensive industries, such as textiles, leather, gems, and jewellery, by boosting exports to the UK market. The UK is asking for reductions in taxes on products including Scotch whiskey and cars.

Up to July, five rounds of negotiations have already been held between the representatives of the two nations. From USD 13.2 billion in 2020–21 to USD 17.5 billion in 2021–22, the two nations’ bilateral trade grew. In 2021–22, India’s exports totaled USD 10.5 billion while its imports totaled USD 7 billion.

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The agreement is divided into 26 chapters, which include investments, commodities, services, and intellectual property rights.

Ready-made clothing and textiles, diamonds, jewellery, engineering products, petroleum and petrochemical products, transportation equipment and components, spices, metal products, machinery and instruments, pharmaceuticals, and marine products are among India’s top exports to the UK.

Precious and semi-precious stones, ores, scrap metal, engineering products, professional instruments, non-ferrous metals, chemicals, and machinery are among the major imports.

Another significant investor in India is the UK. In 2021–22, New Delhi got $1.64 billion in foreign direct investment. Between April 2000 and March 2022, the amount was around USD 32 billion.

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