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UK trade minister to launch FTA talks in New Delhi this week

Author: India Weekly
by India Weekly
Posted: Jan 17, 2022
dit said

THE UK’S secretary of state for international trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan will launch free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with India during her visit to New Delhi starting Wednesday (12), the country’s government has said.

The two-day visit will feature bilateral talks between Trevelyan and India’s commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday (13), the department of international trade (DIT) said on Sunday (9).

The Indian and British ministers are also likely to discuss a range of issues, ranging from green trade to the removal of market-access barriers for both British and Indian businesses, the DIT said.

Trevelyan and Goyal are then expected to confirm the launch of official negotiations on a new UK-India FTA.

"The UK and India are already close friends and trading partners, and building on that strong relationship is a priority for 2022," said Trevelyan.

"I will be using my visit to drive forward an ambitious trade agenda which represents the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action and shows how we are seizing global opportunities as an independent trading nation," she said, adding, "This is just the start of a five-star year of UK trade, forging closer economic partnerships around the globe and negotiating deals that work for businesses, families and consumers in every part of the UK."

On Thursday, the UK minister will join Goyal to co-host the 15th UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) to review how businesses in both countries are benefiting from existing market access commitments under the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership agreed last May by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.

The DIT said the UK trade secretary is also expected to meet several Indian cabinet ministers to discuss closer bilateral cooperation, including external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and environment minister Bhupender Yadav.

"This highlights the ongoing wider strategic importance of the UK-India bilateral relationship which extends beyond trade," the DIT said.

On Wednesday, Trevelyan will meet staff at the New Delhi site of British manufacturing firm JCB to talk about how manufacturing and engineering firms could make big gains from the UK-India trade deal. The company is dubbed a UK "export success story", having been in India for over 40 years and employing over 5,000 people in the country.

Later that day, Trevelyan will take part in a defence industry roundtable hosted alongside Indian defence secretary Dr Ajay Kumar to promote future UK-India defence collaboration and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

UK trade minister to launch FTA talks in New Delhi this week

According to latest DIT figures, total trade in goods and services between the UK and India was £23.3 billion in 2019, making India the UK’s 15th largest trading partner. Indian investment in the UK supports 95,000 jobs across the country, with 15,000 new jobs created by Indian investment in the last three years.

A trade deal between the two nations could help increase this further and will play a key role in London’s ambition to double trade with New Delhi by 2030, the UK government said.

"India is one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing economies and a bold new deal would put UK businesses at the front of the queue to export to India’s growing middle class of a quarter of a billion consumers. India is set to become the world’s third biggest economy by 2050, with a bigger population than the US and EU combined," the UK government said.

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