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Draft SOPs For FTA Negotiations Ready For Sectoral Consultations: Govt Official

Updated: May 22, 2024 06:29:42pm

Draft SOPs For FTA Negotiations Ready For Sectoral Consultations: Govt Official

New Delhi, May 22 (KNN) The Indian government has prepared a draft comprehensive strategy, in the form of a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), aimed at streamlining the process for negotiating future Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

According to a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity, "Our draft SOP is ready. We presented it at the meeting, and some further refinements are needed. It will be circulated to core ministries in approximately one month."

The primary objective of the SOP is to ensure thorough analysis, meticulous preparatory work, and systematic reporting throughout the various phases of FTA negotiations.

It also mandates structured consultations with stakeholder ministries and industry groups both before and after each round of talks.

The draft was deliberated upon during a two-day 'Chintan Shivir' (policy conclave) held on May 16-17 in Neemrana, Rajasthan.

Key issues discussed included India's overarching trade strategy, economic modelling of FTAs, incorporation of new disciplines such as labour, environment, and gender considerations, as well as services and digital trade.

With several of India's trading partners expressing interest in forging new trade pacts, the government recognised the need to codify its approach. "We have gained substantial experience from previous agreements and want to systematise that," the official explained.

India is currently negotiating trade deals with the United Kingdom, European Union, Peru, and a comprehensive pact with Australia.

Talks are also underway with the Eurasian Economic Union. In the fiscal year 2023-24, the country's goods and services exports reached an all-time high of USD 778.2 billion.

(KNN Bureau)


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