India-UK FTA: Negotiations ‘Close’ To Conclusion, Working On Issues Of Rules Of Origin, IPR

India-UK FTA: Negotiations 'Close' To Conclusion, Working On Issues Of Rules Of Origin, IPR


The ongoing negotiations for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK are “very close” to being concluded. A senior government official on Friday said that a broad consensus has been reached on matters related to goods trade in automobiles and whiskey between the two countries, reported PTI. As per the official, countries are working to iron out differences on issues including investment treaty, intellectual property rights (IPRs), and rules of origin. 

As per reports, the Indian industry has been pushing for increased access for its skilled professionals in the UK market and wants Indian whiskey to be allowed entry without the constraints of a three-year minimum maturation period. On the other hand, the UK is seeking a substantial reduction in import duties on Scotch whiskey and is also keen on exploring additional opportunities for UK services in the Indian markets.

As per PTI, the official on Friday said, “We are very close and are trying to conclude the talks as early as possible…Remaining issues include IPRs, rules of origin and investment treaty.”

The negotiations for the agreement encompass 26 policy areas or chapters. Out of the total 26 chapters in the FTA, 19 have been closed, he said. Adding “the UK will be the first country with which we are going to have a comprehensive FTA which we have not signed with any other developed country as such.”

In the Rules of Origin chapters, discussions are focused on product-specific rules, value addition, changes in chapter headings, and certification requirements, the report said. The ‘rules of origin’ provision establishes the minimum level of processing that must occur in an FTA country for the final manufactured product to be considered originating goods in that country.

This provision, as per the report, ensures that a country that has signed an FTA with India cannot simply re-label goods from a third country and sell them in the Indian market. Instead, they must undergo a prescribed value-addition process to be eligible for export to India. The norms are designed to prevent the dumping of goods.

Furthermore, the official also informed that the investment is being addressed as a separate bilateral investment treaty between India and the UK, and it will be concluded simultaneously with the free trade agreement.

The FTA negotiations between the two countries faced challenges in meeting the deadline last year due to unprecedented economic and political crises in the UK.

The 11th round of talks was concluded recently, during the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal visit to London.

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The bilateral trade between India and the UK reached $20.36 billion in 2022-23 compared to $17.5 billion in 2021-22. India’s primary exports to the UK include ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemical products, transport equipment, spices, machinery and instruments, pharmaceuticals, and marine products. In the services sector, the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT services.

The main imports include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, and professional instruments other than electronics, chemicals and machinery.

In 2022-23, India received $1.74 billion in foreign direct investment from the UK as against $1 billion in 2021-22.

Between April 2000 and March 2023, investments totaled $33.9 billion, the report said. The FTA between trading partners will involve significant reductions or eliminations of customs duties on a wide range of goods traded, along with the facilitation of trade in services and investments.


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