The United Kingdom and India remain committed to pursuing a comprehensive and ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as confirmed by an official statement. The two nations are gearing up for the 14th round of negotiations, scheduled to commence this week, with a focus on intricate matters concerning goods, services, and investment.
Several critical topics require resolution, including discussions on reducing tariffs for electric vehicles, whiskey, and facilitating the movement of skilled professionals. Simultaneously, progress is being made on the proposed Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between the two nations. The initiation of FTA talks in January 2022 aimed to bolster economic ties between India and the UK, showcasing the mutual dedication to fostering stronger bilateral relations.
The FTA negotiations encompass a comprehensive agreement spanning 26 chapters, covering key areas such as goods, services, investments, and intellectual property rights. Notably, the Indian industry is actively advocating for increased access for skilled professionals, particularly from sectors such as IT and healthcare, in the UK market. Additionally, there is a significant emphasis on achieving market access for various goods with zero customs duties.
The bilateral trade between India and the UK has witnessed steady growth, with figures rising from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22 to USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23. The upward trajectory underscores the increasing economic engagement and potential for further expansion between the two nations.
The International Trade Council recognizes the significance of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and India, which hold the promise of deepening trade relations and fostering fruitful collaborations. As both parties strive towards a comprehensive FTA, the resolution of key trade issues will undoubtedly contribute to the advancement of their shared economic interests.