India Could Sign FTA With UK by Year-end: Top Official

According to a top trade ministry official, India and Britain may sign a free trade agreement (FTA) this year because both nations have agreed on the general framework of the proposed pact, which aims to increase economic growth and employment.
According to Sunil Barthwal, India’s commerce secretary, “we want to finalize the deal as soon as possible.”

After signing an interim trade agreement with Australia last year, an FTA with the UK would mark India’s first with a developed nation.

Negotiations, according to him, were virtually always over by this point, and a deal might be finalized “much before” the year’s end.

While the UK would gain greater access for its whisky, high-end vehicles, and legal services, India sees an FTA with Britain as essential to its ambitions to become a larger exporter.

After leaving the European Union in 2020, Britain will pursue a variety of international trade ties.

It occurs at a pivotal moment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wants to bolster India’s reputation as a business-friendly nation ahead of the country’s early 2019 elections.

The 11th round of negotiations came to an end yesterday during a trip to London by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Barthwal.
According to Barthwal, discussions on 19 of the 26 FTA chapters, including those pertaining to the delicate auto industry, have come to an end.
A news reports quoted sources from the commerce ministry stating that the nations had still to resolve disagreements about intellectual property rights, rules of origin, and an investment treaty.
The question of investment laws has been resolved in theory, but modalities are still being worked out by the customs officials of both nations, according to R. Barthwal.

When questioned about the specifics of the concessions India was providing to the UK, he responded, “Nothing is final until everything is final,” said Barthwal, when asked about details of concessions India was offering to the UK, adding that the next round of negotiations will be held shortly.

India is pushing for a “zero tariff” for textile, leather and other labour-intensive manufacturing sectors while Britain had sought tariff concessions in other areas.