A free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and India is absolutely achievable by the Diwali timeline set by Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi with only some technical legal aspects left to be resolved, UK Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said on June 30.
Confirming that both sides are now getting on with the market access aspects of a trade deal, the minister in-charge of the negotiations on the UK government side said that some compromise and cooperation will be required on both sides to get a deal over the line.
We have been set the challenge to get a deal by this Diwali, 24th October is seared in my brain, she said, during a UK-India Week forum on trade relations. That’s really helped our negotiators to really focus and where the big prizes are. It’s imperative as we all want to get on so that our businesses get cracking. It is absolutely achievable. "It might be in a practical sense we haven’t completed some boring technical bit, but what we are clear is that by Diwali we have got that whole picture, and we know where we have the mutually value-adding parts", she said.
The minister said an FTA with India would take on a unique form because a cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach to negotiating a trade deal would not work. Undoubtedly, negotiations can be tough. Success comes through compromise and cooperation on both sides. There are times when we need to meet each other in the middle, she said.
Earlier this week, the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) said the latest round of talks concluded last week with discussions in 71 separate sessions covering 20 policy areas. The talks took place in a hybrid fashion with a majority of officials joining virtually and the fifth round of FTA talks is scheduled to be held in New Delhi next month.