The aim is to negotiate a broad agreement that will deliver for businesses and consumers

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan on Thursday formally launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.

“The India-UK Free Trade Agreement will integrate value chains in our two nations & augment mutual efforts to strengthen the resilience of our supply chains. Sectoral cooperation will further generate both direct & indirect jobs in both countries,” Piyush Goyal said in his tweet.

On the other hand, UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan in her tweet said: “Today I’m pleased to launch negotiations for a new ambitious trade deal with India that will increase trade, boost investment & create more jobs.”

Earlier, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in a statement said: “A India-UK Free Trade Agreement would be a substantial opportunity for both of our economies and a significant moment in the India-UK bilateral relationship.”

The India-UK bilateral trading relationship is already significant, and both sides have agreed to double that bilateral trade by 2030, as part of Roadmap 2030 announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May 2021.

India and the UK will seek to agree a mutually beneficial agreement supporting jobs, businesses and communities in both countries, the Ministry said.

“Trade negotiations will be a priority for both countries, as we build upon the Enhanced Trade Partnership launched by our Prime Ministers in May 2021,” the Ministry added.

“During negotiations, and on the path to a comprehensive agreement, both Governments will consider the option of an Interim Agreement that generates early benefits for both countries,” the Ministry informed.

In parallel to trade negotiations, the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee will continue to work in improving the India-UK trading relationship and addressing market access barriers outside of a trade agreement, the Ministry added.

Both parties have agreed that the first round of negotiations will begin on January 17, and future rounds of negotiations will take place approximately every five weeks, the Ministry further added.

The Indian negotiating team will be led by Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and the UK negotiating team will be led by Harjinder Kang, Director for India Negotiations at the Department for International Trade, the Ministry said.