India-UK FTA talks to continue in London this week

In continuation of efforts to close gaps in the negotiations for the proposed India-UK Free Trade Agreement, officials from the two sides will meet in London this week to move the talks forward.

“A team is going to the UK this week. In fact, some of them (Indian officials) have already gone. There are very few pending issues left in the negotiations,” Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal told reporters on Monday. The talks in London will be an extension of the 14th round launched earlier this year. The two countries are hoping to conclude the talks soon after the Indian general elections scheduled to begin later this month.

“A couple of key priority issues to seal the deal are being ironed out to have a balanced outcome,” according to a Commerce Ministry note. Teams have made good progress and majority of the difficult issues are towards resolution, it added.

Some of the differences that have persisted in the negotiations are in areas such as rules of origin, market access for vehicles (including EVs) and Scotch, easier work visas for Indian workers, liberalisation of financial services and tightening of intellectual property rights.

Once implemented, the India-UK FTA is expected to double bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030.

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