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India-UK FTA talks covered 11 policy areas in seventh round

Times of India | 7 March 2023

India-UK FTA talks covered 11 policy areas in seventh round

by PTI

LONDON: The seventh round of India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) talks concluded following technical discussions across 11 policy areas over 43 separate sessions between negotiators from both sides here last month, the British government has said.

In an outcome statement released on Monday, the Department for Business and Trade did not give any further details on the policy areas covered, but confirmed that the eighth round of talks is due to take place in a few weeks’ time.

“On 10 February 2023, the United Kingdom and the Republic of India concluded the seventh round of talks for an India-UK FTA,” the outcome statement reads.

“Technical discussions were held across 11 policy areas over 43 separate sessions. They included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these policy areas. The eighth round of negotiations is due to take place later this Spring,” it said.

As with previous rounds, last month’s session was also conducted in a hybrid fashion, with a number of Indian officials travelling to London for negotiations and others attending virtually.
In keeping with the norm so far of alternating locations, the next round is expected to take place in New Delhi towards the end of this month.

Last week, UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch had reiterated her priority focus on “pursuing a great trade deal with India”.

“A deal to cut tariffs and open opportunities for UK services, making it easier for British businesses to sell to an economy set to be the world’s third-largest by 2050,” she said in a speech to the Legatum Institute think tank in London.

It coincided with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly reaffirming Britain’s commitment to conclude the FTA during his visit to India for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting last week.
According to official UK government statistics, the bilateral trading relationship was worth GBP 34 billion in 2022 – growing by GBP 10 billion in one year.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the country’s leading industry body, estimates an India-UK FTA could boost trade with India by GBP 28 billion a year by 2035 and increase wages across the UK by GBP 3 billion.

 Fuente: Times of India