India-UK FTA aims to double bilateral trade by 2030

To accomplish India’s aspiring merchandise export target of US$ 1 trillion by FY28 and to reconstruct and create “fair and balanced” trade agreements with major economies, formal negotiations were conducted between India and the UK on Thursday. These would pave way for a full-fledged Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in a year that could cover more than 90% of tariff lines and substantially aid the bilateral trade of goods and services between the economies.

A broader FTA encompassing the sensitive issues of freer movement of skilled professionals from India would follow the interim agreement. As per Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, this “new-age FTA” would go beyond the traditional pillars of Indian trade and incorporate negotiations in new areas like intellectual property rights, geographical indications, sustainability, digital technology and anti-corruption. India has been wary of including these sectors in the past, but owing to the interests displayed by advanced economies, this seems like a promising deal. 

The negotiations from both sides will begin on January 17 and the future round of talks will be conducted every five weeks. In times when tariff advantages given to Bangladesh and Vietnam are rendering our products uncompetitive in the UK, FTAs with advanced economies would definitely provide additional market access and render tremendous potential to amplify exports in services. 

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