India, U.K. to begin FTA talks from November 1


The Hindu

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India, U.K. to begin FTA talks from November 1

Formal negotiations for a proposed India-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would begin on November 1, with an interim ‘early harvest’ agreement to be completed by March 2022, the government said today.

The interim trade pact would involve early tariff or market access concessions on certain key ‘high priority products and services’, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement following Minister Piyush Goyal’s meeting with his British counterpart, International Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss on Monday.

The U.K. government, in a separate statement, noted that the two Ministers agreed on the steps to get ready to launch negotiations ‘later this year’, including a series of trade working groups from September to help both sides “better understand each other’s position on potential chapter areas in any trade deal including tariffs, standards, IP and data regulation”.

“The International Trade Secretary reaffirmed her ambition to negotiate a trade agreement that delivers results for the British people and businesses including those in digital and data, tech and food and drink,” the U.K. statement highlighted, indicating its priority areas.

The proposed FTA would unlock the ‘extraordinary’ business opportunities and generate jobs, Goyal stressed. He emphasised the need to strike a balance between commitments and concessions in goods and services. Discussions to finalise the terms of reference for the FTA negotiations would begin on October 1, he observed.

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