NEW DELHI: There are no indications about the impact of recent political developments in Britain on ongoing negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement between the two countries, Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said.
On July 7, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party following an unprecedented uprising from within his Cabinet and after being abandoned by his close allies as a result of rapid -successful scandals that shook his government, prompting a leadership election for a new Tory leader who would continue to be his successor.
In January, both countries formally launched talks for a free trade agreement to strengthen bilateral trade and investment.
In such agreements, the two countries may eliminate or significantly reduce customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them in addition to simplifying the standards for promoting investments and trade in services.
“This (political development in the UK) has happened recently, and we have not received any indications of that kind. But because the Conservative Party will still remain in government and normally in relation to international relations “relationship, the government has continuity. So, I don’t see any immediate problem and I haven’t heard of any reason, which could affect the strong bilateral partnership between India and UK,” Goyal told PTI.
He was responding to a question about whether the resignation of the UK prime minister would affect the ongoing negotiations for the India-UK trade agreement. The talks are at an advanced stage, and both sides have agreed on several chapters of the proposed agreement.
When asked about meeting the deadline for the end of the Diwali talks, the minister said the FTA negotiations were “very” complex tasks and involved a lot of careful analysis of various elements.
“We will put in our best effort to meet these very challenging deadlines,” he added.
In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson set a deadline for Diwali for team negotiations to conclude FTA talks.
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Diwali falls on October 24 this year. The UK is also a major investor in India. New Delhi will attract foreign direct investment of USD 1.64 billion in 2021-22. The number is approximately USD 32 billion between April 2000 and March 2022.
India’s major exports to the UK include ready-made garments and textiles, jewelery and jewelery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemical products, transport equipment and parts, spices, metal products, machinery and instruments, pharma and marine items .
Major imports include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scrap, engineering goods, professional instruments, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and machinery.
In the services sector, the UK is one of the largest markets in Europe for India’s IT services.
Bilateral trade rose to USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22 compared to USD 13.2 billion in 2020-21. India’s exports reached USD 10.5 billion in 2021-22, while imports were USD 7 billion.