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India-UK trade pact on track, says govt

NEW DELHI:The change of guard in the UK is not affecting talks for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India with the two sides likely to conclude negotiations by end-August, a top government official has said.
The India-Australia interim trade deal is also expected to be effective September.
“By next week, we will complete the fifth round of talks and 17 or 18 of the 26 chapters will be finalised. In August, we plan to negotiate every day and we are hoping to conclude the talks at the official level by August 31. After that it will be up to the two prime ministers,” commerce secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said after a meeting with his British counterpart.
During Boris Johnson’s visit earlier this year, the UK and India had agreed to an ambitious deadline to conclude talks by Diwali after the two sides agreed for a comprehensive trade agreement after Brexit.
In recent months, India has been on an FTA spree, signing an agreement with UAE, which was followed by an interim trade deal with Australia and is also negotiating treaties with the EU, Canada and Israel.
Subrahmanyam said the pact with the UK will be “modern”, going beyond goods and services to include issues such as gender, development, labour, innovation, anti-corruption, and MSMEs.


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