Tribune India - 09 October 2022
FTA talks face ’deadlock’ over Delhi’s data rules
Data localisation and UK companies being allowed to bid for Indian government contracts are among the issues causing a possible deadlock in the final stages of the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations towards a Diwali draft completion deadline, according to a UK media report on Sunday.
The Daily Telegraph quoted a source close to the talks to say that data localisation rules that prevent foreign companies taking data out of India and allowing UK firms to bid for public sector contracts are two key “sticking points” to a comprehensive deal.
The likelihood of a so-called “thin” trade deal within the symbolic Diwali or October 24 deadline and further “iterative” deals at a later stage is now looking like a likely outcome.
“The stumbling blocks are absolutely to do with digital. How ambitious and comprehensive this deal is is in some way a function of time,” the newspaper quoted an “insider” as saying.
It follows UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch indicating earlier this week that just because there may be an FTA struck with India, it did not mean “we can’t do even more later”. The Department for International Trade (DIT) also reiterated the government stance that any FTA would be agreed only if it meets the United Kingdom’s interests.