India, UK end fifth round of FTA talks, deal likely to double bilateral trade to USD 100 billion by 2030

India will continue to work intensively towards its targets to conclude the talks by Diwali, said Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce.

Published: 01st August 2022 07:57 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2022 08:41 PM   |  A+A-

National flags of India and UK used for representational purpose only

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: India and UK have just concluded the fifth round of talks for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The agreement is estimated to double India-UK bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030.

"Two weeks of round five of India UK FTA negotiations draw to a close. Our teams will continue to work intensively throughout summer towards our targets to conclude the talks by Diwali," said Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce.

UK Permanent SecretaryTrade, James Bowler, met with Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam before the fifth round began a few days back. Three agreements were signed including recognising each others higher education.

"Trade talks between India and UK are on track and the proposed trade deal is currently being negotiated and would be concluded by August 31st," Subrahmanyam had said earlier. “Irrespective of the party in power in the UK, the logic of FTA with India is irreversible," Subrahmanyam said.

The UK is at present reeling under political instability after Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped down. The race for the next Prime Minister is hotting up. However, this is not likely to impact the FTA negotiations, say experts.

"Cookie-cutter style of trade deals won’t work with a diverse country like India. An agreement will mark a major step in a new direction of the 21st century. Negotiations can be tough but success comes with cooperation," tweeted Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.

The FTA is pertinent for both India as well as the UK as it will give a boost to overall trade. With issues that UK is battling at present regarding wages, there is a need for the FTA going through for UK as much as it is for India.

While the FTA will double UK’s exports to India, it is also expected to boost Britain’s total  trade by as much as £28 billion a year by 2035 and increase wages across the UK regions by £3 billion, according to industry estimates.

"UK is going through a wage crisis at present and this infusion of funds with enhanced trade with India will help them. Statistics reveal that wages (despite a recent hike) don’t match up with the 6.2 per cent rise in the consumer price index," said an expert on FTA.

In the past rounds of negotiations UK had agreed to eliminate duty on rice and textile goods while India is likely to allow duty free entry of British apples, UK manufactured medical devices and machinery.

UK was India’s 17th largest trading partner (2021-22). The total trade between the two nations stood at $16 billion (April 2021-February 2022).


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