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Goyal expresses confidence on FTA with UK

The thirteenth round of negotiations for the UK-India Free Trade Agreement took place from the September 18 to December 15, 2023…reports Asian Lite News

Union Minister Piyush Goyal has said that India is actively working on the process of free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with many countries and expressed confidence of fast progress with the United Kingdom, irrespective of the result of the British elections.

He said a team of officials was in Brussels for negotiations with the European Union.

“FTA (Free Trade Agreement) is a process on which we are working very actively with many countries. Because of the elections, there was a little bit of a break in my engagement with my colleagues, ministers and other government… As we speak, the team is just returning from European Union meetings. More than 25-30 officials were in Brussels for the EU negotiations… I am confident, they will make fast progress even with the UK, irrespective of the election result. We hope to make progress after the new government comes in. If the current government comes in, they are already deeply committed to the FTA,” Piyush Goyal said.

He mentioned having discussions with members of the Labour Party, who have shown equal interest in pursuing a free trade agreement with India.

“We have already had personal discussions with the shadow trade minister and the shadow foreign minister of the Labour Party in UK a few months and they have committed to us that they are equally interested to pursue expeditiously a free trade agreement,” he said.

The thirteenth round of negotiations for the UK-India Free Trade Agreement took place from the September 18 to December 15, 2023.

The round included sessions both in person, in London and Delhi, and virtual talks. As with round 12, these negotiations focused on complex issues including goods, services, and investment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak had earlier this month expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two countries.

Prime Minister Modi held a bilateral meeting with PM Sunak on the sidelines of the 50th Summit of the Group of Seven (G7) in Apulia, Italy on Friday. Britain will go for polls on July 4.

Officials had said earlier this month that the long-awaited trade deal between India and Britain is likely to be signed after the completion of elections in the United Kingdom as the officials of the two countries met virtually on May 7 last month.

Last month, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry organised a Chintan Shivir to provide information related to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to the stakeholders and officials. During the meeting officials discussed strategies and vision for 2047, economic assessments and modelling of FTAs, inclusion of new disciplines like environment, labour, gender issues, and digital trade.

India-European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations were formally re-launched in June 2022 as follow up of India-EU Leaders announcement in Porto in May 2021. Negotiations cover 23 policy areas and chapters. Six Rounds of negotiations were held till October 2023.

Goyal, who is on a three-day tour of Maharashtra, addressed various stakeholders and emphasised India’s strategic position in the global economy amidst current geopolitical challenges.

The minister said that India remains committed to negotiating and finalizing FTAs with various countries, despite the disruptions caused by the global election cycles.

He congratulated Ursula von der Leyen on her re-nomination as the EU Commissioner and noted her commitment to the EU-India Free Trade Agreement.

Goyal also mentioned the recent election of Antonio Luis Santos da Costa as president of the European Council, highlighting his Goan roots and historical ties to the India-EU FTA.

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