India, UK businesses hope for win-win deal with launch of FTA talks

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With both India and the UK home to thriving services sectors firms, will be keen to see negotiations focus on making it easier for them to practice, invest and grow in India, the spokesperson said…reports Asian Lite News

As UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, arrives in New Delhi this week to formally kick-start Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, business and industry chiefs on both sides on Tuesday expressed optimism for a win-win deal.

Trevelyan is scheduled for meetings with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday when the ball is expected to be set rolling on an FTA, which the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) hopes will yield a bold new deal with an economy set to become the world’s third-biggest by 2050.

Having declared her plans to drive forward an ambitious trade agenda that represents the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action, the UK minister is expected to offer some attractive trade terms to India.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) believes that easier movement of professionals between the two countries will be an important aspect of the negotiations.

Trade and mobility are intrinsically interconnected. Businesses’ ability to move people across borders is crucial to expand their pool of talent, drive productivity and go global, a CBI spokesperson said, on the eve of the visit.

With both India and the UK home to thriving services sectors firms, will be keen to see negotiations focus on making it easier for them to practice, invest and grow in India, the spokesperson said.

While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was recently forced to deny in Parliament that easier visa norms for Indians will form part of the FTA negotiations, the mobility of students and professionals is expected to be on the agenda for talks.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) welcomed the very reassuring visit of the UK Trade Secretary, following its own inputs to the government towards securing a win-win deal.

The urgency and pace exuded by the UK to fast-track the FTA negotiations, illustrates the importance accorded to India as a key economic partner, said FICCI President Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL).

Emphasis on promoting new frontiers in the future is noteworthy. This will help both countries to build greener, more innovative and more sustainable economies,” he said.

“FICCI members from the Agri, pharma and life sciences, renewables and electric vehicles, financial services and healthcare sectors, amongst others, would be closely following these discussions, towards which they have shared their recommendations with the government of India. We hope these would help the Indian government to negotiate a win-win deal with the UK, he added.

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, Senior Fellow for South Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, believes that defence industrial cooperation is essential in elevating the bilateral relationship between the two countries to a truly Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The India-UK Roadmap 2030, unveiled virtually eight months ago by both Prime Ministers, highlighted collaboration on key military technologies including combat aircraft, maritime propulsion systems and complex weapons through co-development and co-production.

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