India-UK trade pact negotiations to be concluded by Aug-end: Commerce Secy


Negotiations for the India-UK free trade agreement will be concluded by August 31 and ready for signing by Diwali in October, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said on Thursday.

In January, both countries formally launched talks for a free trade agreement, which aims to boost bilateral trade and investments.

In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson had set the deadline for Diwali for the negotiating teams to conclude the FTA talks. Diwali falls on October 24 this year.

On July 7, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation as Conservative Party leader, following an unprecedented mutiny from within his Cabinet and after being abandoned by his close allies in the wake of a series of scandals that rocked his government, triggering a leadership election for a new Tory leader who will go on to become his successor.

The negotiations will be concluded by August 31 and after internal approvals on both sides, the agreement would be ready to be signed as per the convenience of the two prime ministers, Subrahmanyam told reporters here.

“I hope to conclude it (negotiations) by August 15 and another 15 days will be needed for cleaning, scrubbing and legal vetting,” he said.

The secretary also said the UK has assured India that irrespective of who is going to be the Prime Minister, there is across-the-board support for the India-UK FTA.

The UK is also a key investor in India. New Delhi has attracted foreign direct investment of USD 1.64 billion in 2021-22. The figure was about USD 32 billion between April 2000 and March 2022.

India’s main exports to the UK include ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemical products, transport equipment and parts, spices, metal products, machinery and instruments, pharma and marine items.

Major imports include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, professional instruments, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and machinery.

In the services sector, the UK is one of the largest markets in Europe for Indian IT services.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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