UK, India agree next steps to launch trade deal talks

UK, India agree next steps to launch trade deal talks
Courtesy: Department for International Trade, UK

A virtual meeting between UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss (pictured) and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal resulted in both sides agreeing the next steps to launch negotiations for a UK-India trade agreement.

The UK's Department for International Trade (DIT) said the talks between the two ministers focussed on the “scope and ambition” for a UK-India free trade agreement (FTA), following the close of the UK’s formal consultation process ahead of the negotiations on August 31.

“They discussed the findings from the consultation and agreed the steps to get ready to launch negotiations later this year – including the start of a series of trade working groups from September,” notes a DIT readout of the meeting on September 13.

“They also discussed the newly established Enhanced Trade Partnership, and confirmed their commitment to timely implementation of the market access package,” the DIT said.

The UK government said these regular ministerial dialogues 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. Both ministers agreed that continuing to engage with the business community was vital throughout the forthcoming negotiations,” DIT said.

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According to officials, findings from the DIT’s public consultation will be published before the start of formal trade negotiations as part of a wider package outlining a strategic rationale for the FTA, including the UK’s negotiating objectives and economic analysis of a potential deal.

Earlier, the UK trade ministry had said that preparations towards an FTA with India are progressing. A deal would represent a major boost for UK exporters, lowering tariffs, easing regulation, and driving up bilateral trade which totalled £23 billion in 2019, it noted.

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