Indian commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan recently said the government will resume negotiations for the stalled free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) and initiate fresh talks for a pact with the United Kingdom at the earliest after the preparatory work is completed. Within this year, or close to the end of the year, the both the negotiations should start, he hoped.
He refuted claims by a few analysts, saying the government’s post-pandemic production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes “are fully compliant with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, as the incentives are tied to output”.
“The interactions are already under way. In the beginning, we will do some preparatory work, especially with the UK. The preparatory work is going to be some more elaborate since the negotiations are starting for the first time and with the EU also, some amount of preparatory work has to happen because there was long disruption in the negotiations,” Wadhawan was quoted as saying by a news agency.
The proposed free trade agreement with the EU, officially dubbed as Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), has been stalled since May 2013 as both sides are yet to iron out differences over several issues.
Last month, the UK government stated that it has kicked off preparations for an FTA with India, launching a 14-week consultation to seek the views of the public and business before formal negotiations begin later this year.
With the EU, Wadhawan said that at the highest level, a clear agreement was there on resumption of negotiations, tracks on which talks will happen, and a clear resolve to expedite finality in the negotiations at an early date.
India is also pursuing upgradation of preferential trade agreements with Chile and MERCOSUR (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay), he said.
“We are anticipating something around $400 billion in goods exports (in the current fiscal) and we are going to work towards that as the early signs are very encouraging. We will reach the figure of around $400 billion and for that, we will work hard to achieve,” the secretary added.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)