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India-UK free trade agreement will be a Diwali gift, official says

The free trade pact will give a major thrust to Indian export and labour-intensive sectors like leather, textile, jewellery, IT, ITES, nursing, education and healthcare, Rajendra Ratnoo, joint secretary, commerce ministry, has said

September 20, 2022 / 04:10 PM IST
(Representative image)

(Representative image)

The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the United Kingdom should come through by the end of October, a commerce ministry official said on September 20.

“There is a considerable positive sentiment over the potential of the foreign trade agreement between India and the UK and the anticipated economic benefits to businesses on both sides. The zeal and enthusiasm with which the FTA negotiations are progressing are a testimony to our commitment to double bilateral trade by 2030,” Rajendra Ratnoo, joint secretary at the commerce ministry, said at the India-UK Business Outreach event.

“The leaders of both the countries are committed to FTA and have set an ambitious goal to gift it to people from both sides. Optimistically, it should happen by the end of October and will be a Diwali gift," an ASSOCHAM statement quoted Ratnoo as saying. Diwali is on October 24.

The free trade pact will give a major thrust to Indian export and labour-intensive sectors like leather, textile, jewellery, IT, ITES, nursing, education and healthcare, the official said.

Since Brexit, India and the UK have been trying to strengthen ties. The relations have been elevated to a "comprehensive strategic partnership", which is based on a "shared commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms, multilateralism and a rule-based international order".

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Last year, the prime ministers of the two countries adopted an ambitious "Roadmap 2030".

The government is working overtime to stick to the Diwali deadline for a draft FTA with the UK despite the change of leadership there. Liz Truss recently took over as the PM following the resignation of Boris Johnson.

Following the launch of enhanced trade partnership, both sides opened negotiations for a free trade agreement in January 2022.

India’s bilateral merchandise trade with the UK was worth $17.4 billion in 2021-22, higher than the previous record of $16.8 billion in 2018-19.

Looking to strengthen trade, India has signed agreements with countries like the United Arab Emirates and Australia.

 

 
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first published: Sep 20, 2022 03:58 pm
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