Goyal reviews ongoing FTAs; deliberates ways to fast track negotiations

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday reviewed the progress of India’s ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

“Deliberations focused on ways to fastrack negotiations to achieve mutually beneficial FTAs, paving the way for increased exports, investments and people to people ties,” the minister’s office said in a tweet.

India is negotiating trade deals with developed nations such as the UK, Canada and the EU.

India and the UK had completed five rounds of negotiations in July. Last month, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyan had said the India-UK free trade FTA negotiations will be concluded by August 31 and the trade deal will be signed by Diwali as decided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson. Government officials said negotiations with the UK are at an advanced stage and could be wrapped up soon.

FTA talks with the EU and Canada were also launched earlier this year. The fourth round of negotiations with Canada is expected to take off next month, while in the case of the EU, the third round of discussions are expected in October.

Negotiations between India and Australia towards a comprehensive trade agreement are expected to begin from September, with focus on chapters such as digital trade, government procurement, among other areas. Both nations had signed an interim free trade deal —Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) — in April, the ratification of the deal may take a few more months due to the procedural delays caused by the formation of a new government in Australia.

These trade deals are in line with India’s revamped its foreign trade strategy, as it intends to send a message to the world that India is open for business.

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