Negotiating teams from the UK and India came together – virtually – between 17 and 28 January 2022 for a first round of talks on a UK-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This swiftly followed the launch of negotiations on 13 January when I visited India.
Both sides are committed to progressing negotiations at pace, without compromising on the quality of the deal. We aim to reach a balanced and mutually beneficial trade agreement, delivering benefits for all sectors and across all of the UK. Officials from a range of departments and ministries in the UK and India conducted over 90 hours of virtual discussions across a broad range of policy topics.
Technical experts from both sides came together for discussions in 32 separate sessions covering 26 policy areas including: Trade in Goods, Trade in Services including Financial Services & Telecommunications, Investment, Intellectual Property, Customs and Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Competition, Gender, Government Procurement, SMEs, Sustainability, Transparency, Trade and Development, Geographical Indicators and Digital.
The discussions were open, collaborative and productive, reflecting the shared ambition of the UK and India Governments to secure a broad deal to boost trade between the 5th and 6th largest economies in the world.
The second round of negotiations is scheduled to commence on 7 March 2022.
A deal with India would help to put Global Britain at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region, cement our position as a leader among a network of countries committed to free trade and support the levelling up agenda across the UK.
Any deal the Government strikes must be in the best interests of the British people and the economy.
The Government will keep Parliament updated as these negotiations progress.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords