The UK and India are working towards a “balanced deal” that will build on the bilateral trade partnership, the British government has told Parliament in an update on the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.
In a parliamentary statement last week, UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch updated the House of Commons that the seventh round of FTA talks began on February 6 and concluded on February 10. As with previous rounds, this was conducted in a hybrid fashion — Indian officials travelled to London for negotiations and others attended virtually, the minister said.
She noted: “Technical discussions were held across 11 policy areas over 43 separate sessions. They included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these chapters.
“Both sides are working toward a balanced deal that will build on our enhanced trade partnership. The UK-India trade relationship was worth £34 billion in the year to quarter 3 of 2022. A balanced deal that respects the domestic sensitives of both sides will strengthen the economic links between the UK and India, boosting the UK economy and bringing benefits to UK businesses, families and consumers.”
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The minister reiterated that in this negotiation, as with all other FTA negotiations, the National Health Service (NHS) and the services it provides are “not on the table”. The eighth round of negotiations is now due to take place later this spring and is expected to be held in New Delhi.
The update follows UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly recent visit to India for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, on the sidelines of which he also met India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal (pictured) for an update on the FTA negotiations.