Hopeful for India-UK Free Trade Agreement by Diwali: Piyush Goyal

Union Minister Piyush Goyal has expressed hope that India-UK Free Trade Agreement will be concluded by Diwali.

The minister for trade and industry and textiles said the government was moving forward with free trade pacts with Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

In addition, Goyal informed that Australia, Israel and Gulf Cooperation countries have expressed interest in concluding free trade agreements (FTAs) with India, as well as with Eurasia and Brazil.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf. It was established in 1981 and its six members are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Diwali in October was set as the timetable for a draft FTA after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former’s visit to the country last month.

“All countries are looking forward to befriending India as we offer huge opportunities and promise. We are making progress on FTA with Canada, EU, UK. Australia, even the GCC and Israel, as well as Eurasia and Brazil have shown interest in forging an FTA with India. I hope that by Diwali the India-UK FTA will be concluded,” said Goyal.

He was addressing the inauguration of the 67th India International Apparel Fair in Greater Noida on Monday.

He observed that apparel, fashion jewelry and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) are three industries where India needs to grow.

Total trade between India and UK stood at USD 16 billion in FY22 (April-February). The UK was India’s 17th largest trading partner during the period.

A free trade agreement is a trade pact in accordance with international law to form a free trade area between cooperating states.

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