Negotiations on the proposed India-UK free trade agreement are in their final stages and the Diwali deadline (in October) would not be missed, trade secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said on Saturday.
By April, both sides had set the Diwali deadline for the conclusion of an India-UK free trade agreement (FTA).
“We are on track (to meet the deadline). We are in the final phase. 19 out of 26 chapters have been closed. There are a number of areas where we are negotiating… The Diwali deadline will not be missed,” he said. he. reporters here.
Talks are taking place about certain goods such as cars and spirits from the British side and certain products from the Indian side.
In January, both countries formally started talks for a free trade agreement to boost bilateral trade and investment.
In such pacts, two countries are scrapping or lowering customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them, in addition to easing standards for promoting investment and trade in services.
India’s main exports to the UK are ready-to-wear and textiles, gemstones and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemicals, transportation equipment and parts, spices, metal products, machinery and instruments, pharmaceuticals and marine items.
The main import products are precious and semi-precious stones, ores and scrap metal, technical goods, professional instruments, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and machinery.
In the services sector, the UK is one of the largest markets in Europe for Indian IT services. Bilateral trade has increased to $17.5 billion in 2021-22, compared to $13.2 billion in 2020-21. India’s exports were $10.5 billion in 2021-22, while imports were $7 billion.
He added that India could see $10-15 billion in exports thanks to this pact.
On the proposed trade pact with Canada, the secretary said talks are on track and two rounds have already been completed.
“The third round will be at the end of September and the goal is that we will complete it in December,” said Subrahmanyam.
With the European Union, he said the second round will now take place and “we expect (it will end) in June-July next year”.
With Australia, he said the trade pact is expected to be approved by their parliament by the end of this month. It was signed in April this year.
“We are pushing our free trade agreements… Free trade agreements are an important part of our trade strategy. It will open new markets,” he said.