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India-UK FTA talks to restart next month: Goyal

The Commerce Minister added that industry support is required for the agreement, which should be a balanced one for India…reports Asian Lite News

The government said on Tuesday that the negotiations on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK are very much on track and are expected to restart next month.

Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, while speaking on the sidelines of a steel industry event, said that the India-UK FTA is a high-priority issue for both the nations and negotiations on it are expected to take place next month.

Goyal said he is already in touch with his UK counterpart for the next round of talks on the trade pact.

He added that while things on the agreement were progressing quite fast, due to the political developments in the UK, there was “little bit of a blip” (after Boris Johson and Liz Truss resigned in quick succession as Prime Ministers and Rishi Sunak took charge last month), “but now there is a stable government (in the UK) and efforts are on to restart the negotiations next month”.

The Commerce Minister added that industry support is required for the agreement, which should be a balanced one for India.

He also said that there cannot be strict deadlines for wrapping up such sensitive negotiations, as thorough discussions are needed to safeguard the country’s trade interests.

Both India and the UK had begun discussions on the FTA in January this year, and former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had expressed optimism that these would be concluded by Diwali (October 24). However, due to the political crisis in that country, things got delayed.

Meanwhile, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, which would give a big boost to especially textiles, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals sectors, is expected to create new 10 lakh jobs, said Union commerce minister Piyush Goyal.

“Since the labour-intensive sectors will be benefitted, it is expected to create additional employment of at least 10 lakhs jobs in India, create ample opportunities for investment, promotion of start-ups. Similarly, it would provide enhanced job opportunities for Indians in Australia and increased remittance flows to India,” Goyal said.

The Australian parliament has announced the passing of the free trade agreement (FTA) with India, Goyal on Tuesday said adding that the initial size of bilateral trade between the two countries can go up to around USD 45-50 billion in the next five-to-six years.

Addressing a press conference on the trade deal following the approval of the Agreement by the Australian Parliament, Goyal said that duties on 100 per cent tariff lines would be eliminated by Australia under this deal.

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