New Delhi, December 13
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and his UK counterpart Kemi Badenoch on Tuesday reviewed the progress of talks for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA). The UK Trade Secretary is here to kick-start the sixth round of FTA negotiations and hold bilateral talks with Goyal.
The negotiations, the first under the Rishi Sunak government, are taking place after a gap of more than four months.
The UK side is believed to be pressing for a cut in import duty, especially on automobiles and Scotch whisky, besides easing of the Indian intellectual property regime. India, on the other hand, is aiming for elimination of customs duty in labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, gems and jewellery as well as easier mobility for its skilled professionals.
Recently, India and Australia exchanged written notifications on the signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (India-Australia ECTA), which will enter into force from December 29. Bilateral trade is expected to cross $45-50 billion in five years from the existing $31 billion.
India’s main exports to the UK include ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, 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 scraps, engineering goods, professional instruments, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and machinery.