Unlocking extra ordinary business opportunities and aimed at generating jobs, India and the United Kingdom are looking forward for an Interim Agreement and for a Comprehensive Agreement. The two sides launched the negotiations on FTA by November 2021.
The matter came up during the discussions held between Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Textiles, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal and his British counterpart Secretary of State, Elizabeth Truss on FTA and other trade matters. Both Indian and the UK renewed their commitment to boosting trade in a manner, which benefits all, an official statement said.
Goval said that there was tremendous interest in the business community about ETA in both countries. He said that both countries have made substantial progress on various aspects of the partnership since the ‘Declaration’ on launch of Enhanced Trade Partnership, announced by the Prime Minister in May 2021.
The Minister said that there is keenness to have an early conclusion of negotiations for quick and early economic benefits to businesses on both sides. Substantial work has already been done and extensive stakeholder consultations have been held involving Industry / Business associations, Export Promotion Councils, Buyers/Sellers Associations, Regulatory Bodies, Ministries/ Departments and public research bodies, he added.
He said that BWGs for different tracks have been formed to understand ambitions, interests and sensitivities of each other to facilitate accelerated progress during negotiations. The meetings of these BWGs are presently in progress and are likely to be completed by September 2021. The Minister said: “I am hopeful that these BWG discussions would help both sides in understanding each other’s policy regimes and would put us in a better position when both sides begin their Joint Scoping discussions, beginning on October 1, 2021, for finalising the TORs for launch of negotiations in November.”
Goyal said that an Interim Trade Agreement, as a first step of an FTA would allow both of the countries to benefit from the early gains of the partnership. “In services, certain services of mutual interest may be included in the Interim Agreement through request offer approach wherein we may include priority sectors which are immediately deliverable. If necessary, we may also explore signing of few Mutual Recognition Agreements in selective services like nursing and architecture services,” he said.
The Minister also emphasised upon the need to strike a balance between commitments and concessions in goods and services.