India & UK trade deal a top priority: Piyush Goyal
The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and United Kingdom is on cards and is currently the top priority of Modi government as well as British government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. India’s Commerce and Industry union minister Piyush Goyal said that the first round of talks for the trade pact are scheduled for next month.
“We are all very well aware that it was progressing very fast until we had a little bit of a blip because of political happenings in the other country. Fortunately, we have a stable government. I believe in office now (in the UK) and I am already in touch with my (UK) counterpart. We are working together to possibly have an in person meeting also very soon but our teams are already engaged. Next month, the next round of negotiations are slated to happen,” Goyal said.
“With UK we are doing a comprehensive deal like the UAE ….I assure you that it is a high priority of both countries. It has been reiterated in the meeting of the G20,” Goyal said, adding that there should not be any strict timelines for securing the deal as they need to be carefully negotiated and calibrated. The agreement includes 26 chapters, with arenas including services, goods, investments and intellectual property rights. Furthermore, reduction or elimination of customs duty would help India’s labour intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, and gems and jewellery to boost their exports in the UK market. On the other hand, UK is hoping for duty concessions in Scotch whiskey and automobiles, including other sectors.
In January, the FTA negotiations between India and UK were launched with plans of concluding the talks by Diwali. However, the political chaos in UK led to delay in the negotiations between the two countries. The bilateral trade between India and UK had increased to USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22 as compared to USD 13.2 billion in 2020-21. India’s exports were USD 10.5 billion in 2021-22, while imports were USD 7 billion.