Money Control - 14 August 2023
India-UK FTA talks may conclude as early as September
By Pallavi Singhal & Adrija Chatterjee
The countries have already achieved broad consensus on trade of goods especially on the prickly issues of whiskey and automobiles. As many as 19 chapters of the total 26 have also been closed.
India is aiming to close negotiations in the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) as early as September, when the next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place between the two countries during the trade and investment working group meeting on August 24 and 25.
"There is visible progress in negotiations of this crucial FTA. We are moving towards endgame. In G20 meetings, the UK minister and senior officials will be in India and high-level meetings will take place to resolve the issues. We are hoping to close the chapter then and there," a senior government official told Moneycontrol.
As of July 28, the countries had achieved a broad consensus on trade of goods especially on the prickly issues of whiskey and automobiles. As many as 19 chapters of the total 26 have also been closed.
Another round is underway at present from August 8 and will continue till August 25. The government may exceed it if needed, Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Chief Negotiator of the India-UK FTA said during a press briefing on August 14.
India has made at least two visits to the UK, including by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal in the recent past to further negotiations in the FTA.
"These were the longest visits we have ever made to meet UK counterparts. The last round of negotiation was very intense and we were able to close many issues - have closed 19 chapters out of 26. Now there are only a few issues left," Barthwal told the media during a trade press briefing on August 14.
Both countries are yet to iron out their differences on intellectual property rights, rules of origin (RO) as well as the investment treaty, the aforementioned source further added.
Issues that continue to remain pending include those pertaining to intellectual property rights, rules of origin (RO) as well as the investment treaty.
India’s merchandise exports to the UK totalled $10 billion during April 2022 to February 2023 period, accounting for 2.5 percent of the country’s total exports. Merchandise imports from the UK stood at $8 billion during this period, with a share of 1.3 percent of all imports, data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed. The UK was India’s 15th top trade partner during this period.