India-UK aim to launch negotiations on FTA by 1st November 2021
New Delhi, Sept 14 (KNN) India and the United Kingdom are aiming to launch the negotiations on free trade agreement (FTA) by November 2021. Two sides looking for an Interim Agreement as a priority and later a Comprehensive Agreement.
The matter came up during the discussions held between Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and his British counterpart Secretary of State, Ms. Elizabeth Truss on FTA and other trade matters.
The proposed FTA between India & UK is expected to unlock extraordinary business opportunities and generate jobs. Both sides have renewed their commitment to boosting trade in a manner that benefits all.
Speaking on the occasion the union minister said that there is tremendous interest in the business community in both countries India & UK about this FTA. He said that since the ‘Declaration’ on the launch of Enhanced Trade Partnership, announced by Prime Ministers on 4th May 2021, both countries have made substantial progress on various aspects of the partnership.
The union minister said that there is a keenness to have an early conclusion of negotiations for quick and early economic benefits to businesses on both sides. Substantial work has already been done and extensive stakeholder consultations have been held involving Industry / Business associations, Export Promotion Councils, Buyers/Sellers Associations, Regulatory Bodies, Ministries/Departments, public research bodies, etc. The consultation paper was also made public for wider participation as well.
He said that BWGs for different tracks have been formed to understand ambitions, interests and sensitivities of each other to facilitate accelerated progress during negotiations. The meetings of these BWGs are presently in progress and are likely to be completed by September, 2021.
He added that he was hopeful that these BWG discussions would help both sides in understanding each other’s policy regimes and would put us in a better position when both sides begin their Joint Scoping discussions, beginning on 1st October 2021, for finalizing the TORs for launch of negotiations in November.
The union minister said that an Interim Trade Agreement, as a first step of an FTA would allow both of us to immensely benefit from the early gains of the partnership.
In services, certain services of mutual interest may be included in the Interim Agreement through request offer approach wherein we may include priority sectors that are immediately deliverable.
He emphasised upon the need to strike a balance between commitments & concessions in goods and services.