India-UK launch crucial free trade negotiations


New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, on Thursday launched the negotiations between India and the UK for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries in the presence of British International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

The FTA negotiations in New Delhi are expected to facilitate the target of doubling bilateral trade between India and the UK by 2030, set by the Prime Ministers of both the nations, Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson, in May 2021.

Speaking on the occasion, Goyal said that both India and the UK are vibrant democracies, with a partnership build on the shared history and rich culture of the two nations.

The diverse Indian diaspora in the UK, who act as a ‘Living Bridge’, adds further dynamism to the relations between the two countries, he said.

The FTA with the UK is expected to provide certainty, predictability and transparency and will create a more liberal, facilitative and competitive services regime, the minister noted.

“The FTA negotiations with the UK are expected to increase our exports in leather, textile, jewellery and processed agri products. India is also expected to register a quantum jump in the export of marine products through the recognition of 56 marine units in India.

“The mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on pharma could provide additional market access. There is also great potential for increasing exports in service sectors like IT/ITES, nursing, education and healthcare, including AYUSH and audio-visual services. India would also be seeking special arrangements for movement of its people,” Goyal said.

The minister assured that subsequent to the unveiling of the FTA, the two nations would proactively and regularly engage with each other, for deliberating on the scope and coverage of the trade deal.

Observing that the UK is a major trade partner of India with substantial bilateral volume of trade in goods and services, Goyal said that with the cooperation extended across areas like tourism, technology, startups, education, climate change etc,. the two nations are looking forward to a mutually beneficial trade deal with balanced concessions and market access package in a wide range of sectors.

Calling for the enhancement of sectoral cooperation by addressing market access issues and removing trade restrictions, Goyal said that it would help generate direct and indirect employment in both the nations.

Earlier, Trevelyan had stated before leaving London: “We want to unlock this huge new market (offered by India) for our great British producers and manufacturers across numerous industries from food and drink to services and automotive.

“India marks the start of our ambitious 5-star year of UK trade and will show how the deals we negotiate will boost the economies across all nations.”



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