India, UK to hold negotiations on 'Free Trade Agreement' today
India-UK Free Trade Agreement: Nearly five months after their first meeting, India and the United Kingdom will again start negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on Monday. The much-awaited agreement has been in the pipeline for decades wherein both nations have put forth their demands but failed to finalise the deal. Notably, this will be the sixth round of meetings where UK's Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who is currently in India, and her Indian counterpart Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will hold a face-to-face meeting in New Delhi.
According to an official statement, the main agenda of the meeting is strengthening bilateral ties and reviving talks on an ambitious bilateral trade deal between the two nations. "I'm here in New Delhi to kickstart round six of UK-India trade negotiations and meet my counterpart Minister Goyal in person to drive progress on this agreement," Secretary of State for International Trade Badenoch said in a statement.
As per the schedule released by both nations, the UK leader will first address the team members of the duo and later in the day ministers will sit for negotiations. The official said that the negotiations will continue throughout the week. Besides, the UK leader will also hold a separate meeting with the Indian business tycoons where she will discuss the needs and demands while establishing their firm in India.
The meeting will include a meeting with envoPAP, a UK company investing over 10 million pounds in India to construct a plant producing Fairtrade paper and packaging products.
If the deals would be finalised, it would be easier for Indian companies to export their product to the United Kingdom at reduced tariffs and vice-versa. This will boost the trade relations between India and UK, which eventually helps New Delhi accomplish its economic goals.
"India and the UK are the 5th and 6th biggest economies in the world. We have a long shared history, and are in pole position to do a deal that will create jobs, encourage growth and boost our 29 billion pounds trading relationship," added the minister who was appointed to her role this September.
On the other hand, it would also expand opportunities for UK services such as financial and legal, making it easier for British businesses to sell to the world's third-largest economy - with a middle class of 250 million people - by 2050. According to the official announcement, major UK brands such as Pret A Manger, Revolut, and Tide have announced plans to expand in India. Following a franchise deal with Reliance Brands, British coffee and sandwich retailer Pret will build its first outlet in India in early 2023.
The chain's first location will be in Mumbai, as part of a goal to open 100 locations around the country. "Bringing Pret's freshly made food and organic coffee to more people around the world is a key part of our transformation strategy, and I'm delighted to be launching Pret in India," Pano Christou, CEO, of Pret A Manger said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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