India and UK to start trade talks from November 1
Formal negotiations for a draft free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK would begin on November 1, with an interim “early harvest” agreement to be completed by March 2022, said the government on Tuesday.
The interim trade pact would involve early tariff or market access concessions on certain “high priority products and services,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement following Minister Piyush Goyal’s meeting with his British counterpart, International Trade Secretary Elizabeth Truss on Monday.
The UK government, in a separate statement, noted that the two ministers agreed on steps to be taken in preparation for launching negotiations “later this year”, including a series of working groups on the trade from September to help both sides “better understand each other’s position on potential chapter areas in any trade deal, including tariffs, standards, intellectual property and data regulations.”
“The International Trade Secretary has reaffirmed her ambition to negotiate a trade deal that delivers results for British people and businesses, including those in digital and data, technology and food and beverage,” said underlined the statement from the United Kingdom, indicating its priority areas.
The proposed FTA would unlock “extraordinary” business opportunities and create jobs, Goyal said. He stressed the need to strike a balance between commitments and concessions on goods and services. Discussions to finalize the terms of reference for the FTA negotiations will begin on October 1, he observed.
The UK India Business Council, in its pre-FTA submission to the UK Department for International Trade, had called for action to ensure tax parity between UK and Indian businesses and lower tariffs on alcoholic spirits and medical devices, among others. .
He had also advocated for the reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade in goods by aligning standards and “simplifying cumbersome and costly customs procedures” and measures such as “the protection of intellectual property and the alignment of rules. data protection to enable future-oriented and digitally-driven industries ”.
The industry also supports the mutual recognition of qualifications in higher education and professional services, which the Indian minister alluded to in his talks with Ms Truss.
“Certain services of mutual interest can be included in the interim agreement via a demand-offer approach, in which we can include priority areas that are immediately deliverable. If necessary, we could also consider signing some mutual recognition agreements in selective services like nursing and architectural services, ”added Mr. Goyal.
Source: The Hindu