The discussions focused on charting a path forward towards an ambitious and mutually beneficial trade deal

The 11th round of talks for the UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which ended last week saw the two sides hold technical discussions across 9 policy areas over 42 separate sessions. These included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these policy areas, India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Monday (July 24, 2023).

The 12th round of negotiations will take take place in the coming months. As with previous rounds, the latest round that ended on July 18, 2023, was conducted in a hybrid fashion. While a number of Indian officials travelled to London for negotiations, others attended virtually.

India's Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Piyush Goyal, visited the UK on July 10-12, 2023, as part of this 11th round of the UK-India FTA negotiations.

He met with UK Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch and Minister of State for International Trade Nigel Huddleston. The discussions focused on ways to make progress on the FTA negotiations and wider trade and investment opportunities for the UK and India.

The two sides acknowledged the immense potential of the Indian market, with its vast population of 1.4 billion and remarkable economic growth, for the United Kingdom. They focused on low-hanging fruits, including the closure of several chapters in the negotiations, aiming to resolve issues where negotiators had encountered challenges.

The visit proved to be critical in overcoming crucial obstacles and charting a path forward towards an ambitious and mutually beneficial trade deal.

India's Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal also visited the UK during this round. He met with senior UK trade officials and took stock of the progress made in the 11th round of negotiations, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.

The FTA between India and the UK will be an important milestone. The agreement seeks to enhance and solidify ties between the two nations, promoting greater economic cooperation and investment flows. The proposed agreement encompasses a wide range of sectors, including goods, services, and investments, and seeks to eliminate or reduce tariffs, remove non-tariff barriers, and streamline customs procedures.

By providing enhanced market access and creating a more favorable business environment, the agreement will open up new opportunities for businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors in both India and the UK. It also facilitates the exchange of expertise, technology, and innovation, enabling the collaboration and knowledge sharing.

The ongoing FTA negotiations cover various aspects, including tariffs on automobiles and alcohol, investment protection, cross-border data flows, and the ease of movement of skilled professionals from India to the UK to deliver specialized service.