In July, the two countries concluded the fifth round of talks for the FTA.
By: Pramod Thomas
Indian minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal, held a meeting with UK secretary of state for international trade, Kemi Badenoch in New Delhi on Tuesday (13).
Badenoch, who began her official India visit on Monday (12), is scheduled to address both teams of negotiators before the sixth round of talks begins. The negotiations will take place throughout the week.
Notably, the visit by UK secretary of state for international trade marks the sixth round of formal negotiations between the UK and India.
The talks will revolve around the goal of strengthening bilateral ties and reviving talks on an ambitious bilateral trade deal between the two nations, according to an official statement.
Badenoch will also meet business leaders to better understand their needs for a modern UK-India trade relationship, it said.
This will include a meeting with envoPAP, a UK company investing over £10 million in India to construct a plant producing Fairtrade paper and packaging products.
The talks, the first formal round since July, will aim to reach an agreement to reduce tariffs and expand opportunities for UK services such as financial and legal, making it easier for British businesses to sell to the world’s third-largest economy — with a middle class of 250 million people — by 2050.
“I’m in New Delhi to kickstart round six of UK-India trade negotiations and meet my counterpart, Minister Goyal, in person to drive progress on this agreement,” Badenoch said in a statement.
“India and the UK are the 5th and 6th biggest economies in the world. We have a long shared history, and are in pole position to do a deal that will create jobs, encourage growth and boost our 29 billion pounds trading relationship,” added the minister, who was appointed to her role this September.
According to the official announcement, major UK brands such as Pret A Manger, Revolut, and Tide have announced plans to expand in India.
Following a franchise deal with Reliance Brands, British coffee and sandwich retailer Pret will build its first outlet in India in early 2023. The chain’s first location will be in Mumbai, as part of a goal to open 100 locations around the country.
“Bringing Pret’s freshly made food and organic coffee to more people around the world is a key part of our transformation strategy, and I’m delighted to be launching Pret in India,” Pano Christou, CEO, of Pret A Manger said.
According to International Director of the Confederation of British Industry, Andy Burwell, the UK-India Free Trade Agreement remains a high focus for the industry.
Earlier, in October, when prime minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rishi Sunak on assuming charge as UK prime minister, the two leaders had emphasised on the importance of an early conclusion of “a balanced and comprehensive” Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.
India and the UK were looking to conclude the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) pact but missed the deadline after the resignations of former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.
On July 29, the two countries concluded the fifth round of talks for an India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA).