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Majority of India-UK FTA issues either closed or at advanced stage of talks: Official

Financial Express - 15 January 2024

Majority of India-UK FTA issues either closed or at advanced stage of talks: Official
By Mukesh Jagota

Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce L Satya Srinivas said that the 14th round of negotiations between the officials of the two countries is underway here.

The discussions on the majority of policy areas in the free trade agreement (FTA) with the UK have either been closed or are in an advanced stage of negotiation, said a senior official on Monday.

The ongoing 14th round of talks between India and the UK in New Delhi, which began on January 10, is expected to conclude soon. Another official said that this round could be the last one.

“Discussions are being held at both higher and team levels to iron out the differences,” additional secretary in the department of commerce L Satya Srinivas stated.

Negotiations on the India-UK FTA commenced in January 2022, covering 26 chapters or policy areas such as intellectual property, rules of origin, tariff reductions, and market access. In addition to the FTA, both countries also aim to sign a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

The UK is the important trading partner of India with total goods trade at $ 20.3 in 2022-23, up from $17.5 billion in 2021-22.

On the progress on the proposed trade deal between India and the European Union (EU), Srinivas said the seventh round of talks is scheduled from February 19-23 in New Delhi. Discussions at the track and chief negotiator level on modalities for the services and investments chapter will take place this week. The India-EU FTA aims to cover 23 policy areas or chapters.

Talks between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), comprising Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, were held from January 8-13 on their Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement.

The discussions covered trade in goods and services, investment protection, cooperation, trade facilitation, and rules of origin, with the exchange of the third round of goods offer and the second round of services offer.

The sixth round of negotiations for a proposed trade agreement between India and Peru is scheduled from February 12-15. The ministry has held stakeholder consultations with the line ministries, export promotion councils, industry chambers on the pact.

On the progress of talks between India-Oman free trade agreement, Additional Secretary in the department of commerce Amardeep Singh Bhatia said that substantial progress has been made on the deal and the next round of talks will start from January 16.

 source: Financial Express