In a trade pact with the UK and India to seek textile duty cuts
New Delhi will seek duty exemptions for labor-intensive exports, including textiles, in addition to easier market access for fisheries, pharmaceuticals and agricultural products, in the second round of free trade agreement (FTA) talks between India and the UK, two government officials said.
The negotiations, due to take place between March 7 and March 18, will also explore the possibility of an early harvest deal, or mini-FTA, in the near term, as the two countries continue talks to iron out ties. differences on sensitive issues. Questions.
India is seeking to conclude at least six bilateral trade agreements this year. Last week, New Delhi signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the United Arab Emirates for duty-free access to 90% of Indian products. The deal was completed in a record 88 days.
“The UK deal will be broader in scope than the one India had with the UAE. The tariff reductions on textiles and exports of labour-intensive sectors, such as leather, shoes, gems and jewellery, are among India’s top 10 to 12 wishes,” one of the two officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Marine products will benefit a lot. India is also seeking access to the UK for pharmaceuticals and agricultural products. Additionally, trade restrictions that are not related to tariffs are also being discussed,” said a second official, also on condition of anonymity. However, the final agreement may cover more than 90% of the products.
Questions to the Department of Trade and Industry and the British High Commission in New Delhi remained unanswered until press time.
India has a positive trade balance with the UK, but lost market share in some key products to other developing countries after the withdrawal from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). “Therefore, it is in the interests of industry to achieve zero UK tariffs in sectors (such as clothing) where GSP has been withdrawn,” said Arpita Mukherjee, Professor at Icrier. Meanwhile, the UK is negotiating access to its services. sector, such as law and accountancy, in addition to lower tariffs for its Scotch whisky, which faces a 150% duty.
In January, the two countries reiterated their commitment to more than double the value of trade between the UK and India by 2030. India had a trade surplus of $3.3 billion with the UK United in 2020-2021. The UK is India’s seventh-largest export market, accounting for 2.8% of its total exports, as of June 2021. Resolution Foundation, a UK think tank, said in a report that UK businesses should pull benefit of a “first mover”. advantage over the United States and the European Union (EU) in India through the FTA, which has the potential to eclipse other major UK trade deals.
The joint statement from the 15th meeting of the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee said that the two countries “look forward to the first shipment of apples and medical devices to India and welcome the registration of 56 new Indian fishing establishments”.
Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our app now!!