New Delhi, Nov 17 (FN Agency) Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, provided an update on the ongoing negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the United Kingdom. Mr Goyal expressed optimism about the progress made in the negotiations, highlighting that almost 20 out of 26 chapters have been closed. “We’ve had several rounds of negotiations with the UK. Currently, we are in active dialogue on different tracks. The Free Trade Agreement has closed almost 20 chapters out of 26. Amongst the few issues pending, there’s nothing which is impossible to navigate. Free Trade Agreements are actually crystal gazing into the future” the Union Minister told ANI. Mr Goyal added, “You have to really project how the agreement will play out 20, 30, 50 years into the future. So they are crafted very carefully. One never rushes to do a free trade agreement. One should do it with great care and consideration of different interests”.
Elaborating on the careful crafting of FTAs, Minister Piyush Goyal emphasized the forward-looking nature of such agreements. Mr Goyal stressed the importance of a meticulous approach in ensuring that the agreement aligns with the long-term interests of both nations. Acknowledging the sensitivity of certain issues in the negotiations, Mr Goyal expressed confidence that the teams from both sides are addressing matters crucial to each other. “Both sides are looking at issues which are of a very sensitive nature to each other, also very important to each other, and we hope that in the coming weeks, we’ll be able to come to some conclusion” the minister stated. The ongoing discussions reflect the commitment of India and the UK to fostering a comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade relationship. The bilateral trade between India and the U.K. increased to $20.36 billion in 2022-23 from $17.5 billion in 2021-22. As negotiations progress, both nations are working towards resolving pending issues and finalizing an agreement that considers the diverse interests of the involved parties.