India and the UK will hold their next round of talks on the proposed FTA here in June and both sides are aiming to finalize the negotiations as soon as possible, a senior government official said Monday. Director-General for Foreign Trade (DGFT) Santosh Kumar Saranagi said trade negotiations are a matter of give and take and have nothing to do with elections in individual countries.
General elections will be held in India next year.
“The effort is to speed up the negotiations… (There was a) Diwali deadline (to conclude the talks last year) was set, but for various reasons it was extended. But both sides are making every effort to finalize it as soon as possible,” he told reporters here.
The tenth round of negotiations will take place from June 5-9 and “hopefully we will make significant progress during that time,” he added.
Negotiations began on January 13, 2021. The talks cover 26 policy areas/chapters.
Investments are negotiated as a separate agreement – Bilateral Investment Treaty – which would be concluded at the same time as the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
So far, 13 chapters have been essentially closed for negotiations and regular meetings at higher levels to review the progress of the talks and resolve the outstanding issues.
He also announced that the fifth round of negotiations for a trade deal between India and the European Union (EU) is scheduled to take place in India on June 19-23.
So far, four rounds of negotiations have been completed by March.
In the last round, negotiations were held on 21 policy areas in 74 technical sessions.
Both sides also discussed the modalities for the exchange of goods and services.
India’s Trade Minister and the EU’s Directorate-General (Trade) will meet in August to discuss progress.
On the India-Canada trade deal, the DGFT said negotiations on market access for goods and services were at an advanced stage.
The seventh round of talks took place April 3-6 in Ottawa, Canada.
Apart from the traditional areas, the Interim Agreement can also cover areas such as SMEs, trade and equality, environment and labour.
On the India-Australia Comprehensive Agreement, he said good progress had been made on the agreed items and a detailed work plan with indicative deadlines had been prepared.
Both countries intend to hold the 3rd and 4th rounds of negotiations on June 5-16 and July 3-14, respectively, to pave the way for an early conclusion of the negotiations.
Speaking on the G20 talks, he said the second meeting of the Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) is now scheduled for May 23-25 in Bengaluru.
In dedicated technical sessions, G20 delegates will discuss priorities of WTO (World Trade Organization) reform as well as key outcomes on identified priority issues in the area of trade for growth and prosperity, resilient global value chains, integration of MSMEs in world trade and efficient logistics for trade advise .
The meeting will provide the basis for consensus building among the G20 countries on India’s proposed achievements and results on global trade and investment issues.