Rishi Sunak Says 'Won't Rush' Into UK-India Trade Deal: BBC Report

Sunak has said that he would not set a deadline for the conclusion of negotiations
UK PM Rishi Sunak
UK PM Rishi Sunak

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that there is progress in talks between India and Britain on a free trade agreement, but he "won't rush" into the trade deal, according to a report by BBC.

Sunak is here to attend the G20 Summit on September 9-10.

The remarks assume significance as the 12th round of talks concluded last month between the officials of the two countries. The talks for the agreement were launched in January 2022.

According to the report, Sunak has said that he would not set a deadline for the conclusion of negotiations.

Progress has been made, but “we are not there yet,” the BBC report said quoting the UK Prime minister.

"I won't rush things for the sake of it until they're right for us," he added.

Sunak recently said that the free trade agreement (FTA) talks with India are “progressing” and Britain will only agree to a pact that works for the whole of the United Kingdom (UK).

In an exclusive interview with PTI, the first Indian-origin British prime minister has also said that the trade deal could help Indian exporters gain access to the British market, including India's 48 million small and medium enterprises.

There are expectations that the UK Prime Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi could discuss the progress of negotiations in a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit here.

Last month the trade ministers of both countries reviewed the progress of talks.

The two countries, last year, had missed the Diwali deadline for concluding the talks due to political developments in the UK.

Out of the total 26 chapters in the proposed FTA, 19 have been closed. Investment is being negotiated as a separate agreement (bilateral investment treaty) between India and the UK.

Earlier Indian sources have said that the main issues over which talks are on include investment treaty, reduction of duties on auto and whiskey, rules of origin, intellectual property rights and matters pertaining to services.

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 sectors like textiles and footwear.

On the other hand, the UK is seeking a significant cut in import duties on goods such as scotch whiskey, automobiles, lamb meat, and certain confectionary items.

Britain is also looking for more opportunities for UK services in Indian markets in segments such as telecommunications, legal and financial services like banking.

The bilateral trade between the countries increased to USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23 from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22.

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