India, UK To Hold Next Round Of Talks For Free Trade Agreement In Jan
India and the UK officials in January next year will hold the next round of talks for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) to resolve remaining issues, the commerce ministry said on Monday.
The 13th round of negotiations for the proposed pact was held between September 18 and December 15.
"The UK and India will continue to negotiate towards a comprehensive and ambitious Free Trade Agreement. The fourteenth round of negotiations will take place in January 2024," the ministry said in a statement.
These negotiations focussed on complex issues including goods, services, and investment.
An Indian team was in London recently.
Issues which need to be resolved include duty cuts on electric vehicles and whiskey and the movement of professionals. Talks are also progressing on the proposed bilateral investment treaty (BIT).
India and the UK launched the talks for a free-trade agreement (FTA) in January 2022, to conclude talks by Diwali (October 24, 2022), but the deadline was missed due to political developments in the UK.
There are 26 chapters in the agreement, which include goods, services, investments and intellectual property rights. The Indian industry is demanding greater access for its skilled professionals from sectors like IT, and healthcare in the UK market, besides market access for several goods at nil customs duties.
On the other hand, the UK is seeking a significant cut in import duties on goods such as scotch whiskey, automobiles, lamb meat, chocolates and certain confectionary items.
Britain is also looking for more opportunities for UK services in Indian markets in segments like telecommunications, legal and financial services (banking and insurance).
The bilateral trade between India and the UK increased to USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23 from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22.