Majority of India-U.K. FTA issues either closed or at advanced stage of talks: official



| Photo Credit: AFP

Majority of the issues in the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the U.K. are either finalised or at an advanced stage of talks, a government official said on January 15.

Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce L. Satya Srinivas said that the 14th round of negotiations between the officials of the two countries is underway in New Delhi.

“The majority of the chapters are either closed or at an advanced stage of negotiation. Discussions are being held at the higher level as well as at the team level to iron out differences,” he told reporters.

The talks for the pact began in January 2022. The current round of talks is expected to be the final one.

Talks are also progressing on the proposed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT).

There are 26 chapters in the agreement, which include goods, services, investments and intellectual property rights.

Issues from both goods and services are pending for conclusion.

The bilateral trade between India and the U.K. increased to $20.36 billion in 2022-23 from $17.5 billion in 2021-22.

On the progress on the proposed trade deal between India and the European Union (EU), he said the seventh round of talks will be held from February 19-23 here.

The track and chief negotiator level discussions on modalities for the services and investments chapter are scheduled this week.

Similarly, the sixth round of negotiations for a proposed trade agreement between India and the South American nation Peru is scheduled from February 12-15.

The ministry has held stakeholder consultations with the line ministries, export promotion councils, and industry chambers on the pact.

On the progress of talks for the India-Oman free trade agreement, Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce Amardeep Singh Bhatia said that substantial progress has been made on the deal and the next round of talks will start from January 16.

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