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India to develop SOPs for free trade agreement negotiations

KNN India - 16 May 2024

India to develop SOPs for free trade agreement negotiations

India is gearing up to formulate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs) as the country engages with multiple trade partners for such pacts, according to a senior government official.

The move comes amid a flurry of FTA negotiations with countries like the UK, the European Union (EU), Peru, and a comprehensive trade deal with Australia, as well as talks with the Eurasian Economic Union, reported BS.

To chart out a comprehensive strategy, the Ministry of Commerce is organising a two-day ’Chintan Shivir’ (brainstorming session) on FTA strategy and SOPs for trade negotiations, scheduled for May 16-17 in Neemrana, Rajasthan.

The deliberations will see participation from former commerce secretaries, industry experts, and government officials.

Key issues on the agenda include India’s trade strategy and vision for 2047, economic assessment and modelling of FTAs, inclusion of new disciplines like labour, environment, gender, and indigenous people, services and digital trade, and SOPs for FTA negotiations.

Participants will also discuss industry experiences in utilising existing FTAs.

A separate session will focus on leveraging India’s FTAs to address emerging challenges such as carbon border adjustment mechanisms (CBAM), supply chain disruptions, critical minerals, and artificial intelligence.

The official from the ministry stated, "We are doing many FTAs, and we are making an SOP on how to go about them.”

He mentioned, “The Chintan Shivir is on that only. How we will do capacity building, how to approach different countries, and how to do economic analysis.

“So these are technical issues, and we will have discussions on these issues," he further added.

The consultations hold significance as India’s goods and services exports in 2023-24 reached an all-time high of USD 778.2 billion, up 0.23 per cent from the previous year.

The country has inked trade pacts with Mauritius, the UAE, Australia, and the European Free Trade Association since 2021, underscoring the importance of a well-defined strategy for future FTA negotiations.

 source: KNN India