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India aims to conclude UK FTA by March ’23.
Nov 24, 2022

India is in advanced talks with the UK for the free trade agreement (FTA); which couldn’t meet the Diwali deadline due to political instability, economic turmoil and the death of Queen Elizabeth II, according to a top government source. 
The Centre may conclude the trade pact by March 31 next year. 'We are waiting to get into a kind of agreement that provides a win-win situation for both countries. The UK FTA is likely to conclude this fiscal year, though we have not set any deadline for it,' the source said. Besides the UK FTA, talks with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will also resume this week. As per sources, discussions are on with Canada and European Union also for FTAs.
'Currently, we are getting the UK FTA fast-tracked. Once this FTA is done then we can hope FTA with Canada and GCC countries to finalise by the year-end,' the source further stated. Meanwhile, as per sources, the UK authorities are not rushing to seal the trade deal as they don’t want to sacrifice quality for pace. India had total trade of $17.5 billion with the UK in 2021-22. India’s exports to the UK in 2021-22 were worth $10.5 billion, while imports from the country were at $7 billion.
'It seems difficult this year, as there are 27 countries in the European Union (EU) with big markets like France, Italy and Germany,  among others. We will take a considerable time to arrive at a fair deal,' the source further stated. 'Also, if things get complicated with the UK, then we will not have enough bandwidth to complete other FTAs this year. So the success of the other FTAs depends upon the completion of the UK FTA,' he added. 
In addition, commerce minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday while replying to TNIE's question on global slowdown said, in the short run, the trade deal with the other countries may get impacted but in the long haul, these pacts will benefit the country.
'The global slowdown may impact the FTA for a few months or few years but these trade deals are meant for long run. And these agreements will only benefit India in the long term,' said Goyal.