Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal on Thursday launched the Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the United Kingdom along with Rt. Hon. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Secretary of State for International Trade in New Delhi today.
Ministry of Commerce in its statement “The FTA is expected to facilitate the target of doubling bilateral trade between India and United Kingdom by 2030”.
The target was set by the Prime Ministers of both the nations, Shri Narendra Modi and Mr. Boris Johnson in May 2021 and endeavour is to deliver a comprehensive, balanced, fair and equitable FTA, to benefit small, medium and micro-enterprises in both nations.
Piyush Goyal 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 FTA negotiations are expected to increase our exports in Leather, Textile, Jewelry and processed Agri products. He added that India is also expected to register a quantum jump in the export of Marine Products through the recognition of 56 marine units of India.” added Goyal.
In a joint statement the two countries said, “During negotiations, and on the path to a comprehensive agreement, both Governments will consider the option of an Interim Agreement that generates early benefits for both countries.”
In parallel to trade negotiations, the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee will continue to work in improving the India-UK trading relationship and addressing market access barriers outside of a trade agreement.
Both parties have agreed that the first round of negotiations will begin on 17 January, and future rounds of negotiations will take place approximately every five weeks.
The Indian negotiating team will be led by Ms. Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and the UK negotiating team will be led by Harjinder Kang, Director for India Negotiations at the Department for International Trade.
Minister Piyush Goyal said that 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, healthcare, including AYUSH and audio-visual services. India would also be seeking special arrangements for movement of its people, he added.
The Minister assured that subsequent to the unveiling of 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 UK was a major trade partner of India with substantial bilateral volume of trade in goods and services, Shri Goyal said that the cooperation extended across areas like tourism, tech, startups, education, climate change, etc. and that the two nations were 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 nations.
The Minister also informed that it was also agreed to explore during the FTA negotiations, the possibility of an Interim Agreement to provide quick gains for benefiting businesses in both nations.