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Round 9 of India-UK FTA talks concludes with ’detailed’ policy discussions

The Economic Times | 10 May 2023

Round 9 of India-UK FTA talks concludes with ’detailed’ policy discussions

by PTI

The ninth round of India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations concluded with detailed discussions across a range of policy areas, the UK government said on Wednesday. A joint outcome statement issued by the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) revealed that Round 9 of the ongoing talks took place between April 24 and 28 in a hybrid format, with some Indian officials travelling to London and others attending virtually.

There is no date set for the 10th round of negotiations, which is likely to be hosted by New Delhi, also in a hybrid format.

"In continuation of the eighth round of negotiations held during 20-31 March 2023 in New Delhi, the United Kingdom and the Republic of India held the ninth round of talks during 24-28 April for a UK-India FTA," the DBT statement said.

"As with previous rounds, these were conducted in a hybrid fashion - a number of officials from India travelled to London and others attended virtually. During the round, detailed discussions took place across a range of policy areas," it said.

"The tenth round of negotiations is due to take place in the coming months," it added.

India and the UK have been negotiating an FTA since January last year, with a goal towards a comprehensive pact that is expected to significantly enhance the bilateral trading relationship worth an estimated GBP 34 billion in 2022.

Recently, Britain’s Chief Negotiator for the FTA - Harjinder Kang - was appointed the country’s new Trade Commissioner to South Asia and Deputy High Commissioner for Western India, based in Mumbai.

UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said he is expected to use the FTA talks experience to build on the UK’s "outstanding track record" on trade in South Asia. Kang has been succeeded in the role of the UK’s Chief Negotiator for the India-UK FTA by Kate Thornley, previously Deputy Chief Negotiator.

According to official UK government statistics, India was the UK’s 12th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022, accounting for 2.1 per cent of total UK trade.

The DBT describes the UK-India investment partnership as "thriving", with over GBP 28 billion invested in each other’s economies supporting over half a million jobs.

 source: The Economic Times