• Sunday, April 21, 2024

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Indian delegation heads to London for FTA talks

File photo of Rishi Sunak (left) with Narendra Modi (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shajil Kumar

With the negotiations for the proposed India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) reaching its last leg, a high-level Indian official delegation is heading for London to iron out differences on remaining issues, sources said on Tuesday.

The chief negotiators of both countries would hold negotiations on different issues such as goods, services, and rules of origin.

The visit assumes significance as last week, the prime minister’s office has reviewed the progress of the talks. Sources said this visit aims to close the remaining issues.

So far 13 rounds of talks have been completed, and the 14th started last month.

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.

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 duty.

The UK is seeking a significant cut in import duties on goods such as scotch whisky, electric vehicles, lamb meat, chocolates, 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 (banking and insurance).

The bilateral trade between India and the UK increased to $20.36 billion (£16.15 billion) in 2022-23 from $17.5 billion (£13.6 billion) in 2021-22. (PTI)

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