India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, set the stage for UK-India Week 2022, organised by UK-headquartered India Global Forum (IGF), at a special curtain raiser event in London with a positive message of a win-win Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the works for the two nations.
In conversation with IGF Founder Professor Manoj Ladwa at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate this week, the senior Indian Cabinet Minister shared insights on a wide range of subjects – from his recent interactions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos with businesses around the world keen on investing in the India story to the Narendra Modi led government’s increasingly FTA-friendly and outward-looking engagement with the world.
“You are actually writing out the destiny of your trading relations between two nations for the next 30 or 50 years,” the minister said, with reference to the ongoing UK-India FTA negotiations.
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“With the UK, we had agreed to do an Early Harvest Agreement – basically, to grab the low-hanging fruits and leave the more difficult elements for the next stage and give the people of both countries the confidence that this agreement is a win-win and create an automatic demand for more. But the way things are progressing, we’ll actually land up doing a full FTA with the UK by Diwali… We are working towards a fair deal and a win-win for both countries,” he said.
Referencing some of the “doom and gloom” in Davos over the state of the global economy, the minister added: “There’s a big difference between the mood in India and the mood in the rest of the world. In India, there’s a lot of excitement about the future, our young India is looking at the future with great hope and aspiration.
“We in India look at the future with great optimism, we believe these things will also pass as have many other challenges. India is ready to engage with the world from a position of strength.”
The event brought together prominent UK-based parliamentarians, business chiefs and academics to set the tone for IGF’s UK-India Week 2022 next month, themed around Reimagine@75 – as a celebration of 75 years of India’s independence and UK-India ties.
Gaitri Issar Kumar, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, said: “Our teams are looking at the possibility of completing the trade agreement as fast as possible. In fact, Hon. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited our Hon. Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] to come to London and announce the Free Trade Agreement with him.
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“I have no doubt that under the stewardship of Hon. Minister Shri Piyush Goyal and Rt Hon. Trade Secretary Madam Anne-Marie Trevelyan, we will move with the greatest speed and efficiency towards this target.”
Prof. Ladwa, Chairman & CEO of the India Inc. Group, noted: “India Global Forum is celebrating 75 years of India’s independence. We’ll be showcasing the investments, the collaborations and the solutions needed to achieve what Mr Modi has called a quantum leap in UK-India relations.
“Across five invigorating days, we’ll be joined by over 100 leading politicians, global business leaders, innovators and disruptors from the UK, India and beyond as they discuss, debate and deliberate global developments, their impact on India and the UK and how businesses can thrive in the face of challenging global events.”
*Info: India Global Forum