logo logo

India, UK to resume FTA talks

Financial Express | 16 April 2024

India, UK to resume FTA talks

by Mukesh Jagota

A team of Indian officials will be in the UK this week to resume negotiations on the free trade agreement, after a brief stalemate. The idea is to resolve a few pending issues and sew up the deal without any more delays, a senior official said Monday.

The visit of the Indian delegation comes a month after both sides decided to take a pause in negotiations when Indian elections were announced on March 15. At that time the 14th round of negotiations were on.

“Team is going this week. Some of them have already gone. Our deputy chief negotiator is also now in the UK. There are very few pending issues now in the FTA,” commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said.

He said the 14th round of negotiations will resume.

“Teams have made good progress and the majority of difficult issues are towards resolution,” another official said while refusing to elaborate on the issues.

“A couple of key priority issues to seal the deal are being ironed out to have a balanced outcome,” he added.

The India-UK started negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement in January 2022 and which covers 26 chapters or policy areas covering areas like intellectual property, rules of origin apart from tariff reductions and market access. Along with the FTA both sides also intend to sign a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

On another key FTA that India is negotiating with the European Union, the official said the eighth round of negotiations are being planned for May or June. The 7th round of talks were held in February this year. Prior to the next round officials from both sides will be meeting virtually for discussions on different policy areas.

India and EU launched talks on FTA in June 2022. This FTA covers 23 policy areas or chapters. Both UK and EU are key trade partners for india. The UK is the 6th biggest market for Indian exports. Among trading blocks the EU is the biggest buyer of goods from India. It accounts for 17% of India’s exports.

 source: Financial Express