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UK hopes to soon complete FTA talks with India

Goyal said the two countries are moving towards an early harvest trade agreement, with a comprehensive FTA as the next step.

PTI | New Delhi |

The UK on Friday expressed hope that it will be able to soon complete the negotiations for the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India, a move aimed at further enhancing trade and investment ties between the two countries. “I can confidently predict that we will complete the India-UK FTA before we see an India-EU (European Union) FTA completed,” UK Investment Minister Lord Gerry Grimstone said. Speaking at industry body CII’s India-UK Annual Conference, he said there have been productive discussions on how the trade pact can act as a means to connect the two economies and to double bilateral trade over the next decade. India and the UK are aiming to start negotiations for the proposed bilateral FTA by November 1. Recently, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the two countries are moving towards an early harvest trade agreement, with a comprehensive FTA as the next step. In a FTA, two or more trading partners significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them besides liberalising norms to promote trade in services and investments. In an interim trade pact, customs duties are removed on a limited number of goods. The bilateral trade between the two nations stood at USD 13.11 billion in 2020-21 as against USD 15.45 billion in 2019-20. Trade balance is in favour of India, according to the data from the Indian commerce ministry. Grimstone also said that “our focus is on boosting investments, exports, addressing market access issues, removing trade barriers that are hindering growth and unleashing the potential for economic growth”. India is working on creating a robust FTA with the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, High Commissioner of India to the UK, said. India is the second largest FDI contributor in the UK and 850 Indian companies contributed a net revenue of over GBP 50 billion.