The proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will create job opportunities and benefit businesses

Chances of an early trade deal between India and the United Kingdom have brightened with Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal saying that the time is ripe and opportune.

Goyal made the statement while addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry's India-UK annual conference on Tuesday and referred to the latest export figures released by the government. In the week from 8 to 14 September, the value of exports is $6.88 billion, up by 10.73 per cent over the same period of the previous year..

Pointing to the need to start an engagement on the proposed India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA), he said, "It is the need of the hour. We should look at the preferential trade agreement so that we can demonstrate to the whole world the sincerity and seriousness of UK-India engagement. In bilateral agreements between 2 nations, we give some and get some. We are able to benefit businesses & create jobs on both sides of the table."

He added there are numerous industries which have massive alacrity to work with business organisations in the UK, where the UK is a net importer in a huge way while India has the competitive and comparative advantage to be able to serve UK's specifications.

"We have had a very good dialogue in terms of considering how we can prepare before January to see if engagement with the UK can be taken to the next level. The UK certainly can benefit significantly from India's healthcare offerings. India offers a huge potential to give quality medical support at affordable prices and at a speed which they will not get in the UK," as per the commerce and industry ministry release.

Earlier, on July 25, minister Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss had affirmed their shared commitment to a Free Trade Agreement and early harvest deals in a staged manner which would include food and drink, healthcare and lifesciences, IT and data.

The minister further informed, "This is the trusted partnership India offers to the world which has been recognised. All through the pandemic, our services exports were at 90 per cent of last year's level of the corresponding period. This has added to the credibility of India as a trusted partner world over. Under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, we have been able to earn the goodwill, friendship, trust of world leaders and countries."

Moreover, he mentioned that this will also showcase the sincerity and seriousness of India-UK partnership to the whole world.

According to figures provided by the UK’s Department of Department of International Trade, the volume of trade between the two countries had touched nearly 24 billion pounds in 2019.