- India aims to expedite free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations: India is prioritizing the conclusion of FTAs with the UK, EU, Canada, and Australia, pushing for expedited negotiations to achieve beneficial trade agreements.
- Progress made in multiple FTA negotiations: Substantial progress has been made in negotiations with the UK, EU, Canada, and Australia, with several chapters closed and regular high-level meetings held to review progress and resolve outstanding issues.
- G20 working towards trade and investment consensus: The G20 Trade and Investment Working Group is set to meet to discuss key issues, including WTO reform, resilient global value chains, integrating MSMEs in global trade, and efficient logistics. This meeting aims to build consensus among G20 countries on trade-related deliverables proposed by India.
India is pushing to expedite its negotiations for free trade agreements (FTAs) with various countries, including the UK, the European Union (EU), Canada, and Australia. Despite the upcoming general elections in India next year, the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Santosh Kumar Saranagi emphasized that the trade negotiations are a matter of give and take and are not affected by individual countries' elections.
India-UK Free Trade Agreement
The tenth round of India-UK FTA negotiations is set to take place from June 5-9, and both sides are looking to conclude the talks as soon as possible. The negotiations, which cover 26 policy areas/chapters, were launched in January 2021. Investment is being negotiated separately as a Bilateral Investment Treaty, which will be concluded simultaneously with the FTA. So far, 13 chapters have been substantially closed for negotiations.
India-EU Free Trade Agreement
The fifth round of negotiations for an India-EU trade pact is scheduled from June 19-23 in India. So far, four rounds of negotiations have been completed. During the last round, negotiations on 21 policy areas in 74 technical sessions were held, and both sides discussed modalities for exchanging offers in goods and services. India's commerce secretary and the EU's DG (Trade) will meet in August to review the progress.
Negotiations for an India-Canada FTA are at an advanced stage in goods and services markets, and the seventh round of talks was held during April 3-6 in Ottawa, Canada. The interim agreement may cover areas like SMEs, trade and gender, environment, and labor.
India-Australia Free Trade Agreement
Good progress has been made in the agreed tracks of the comprehensive India-Australia FTA, and a detailed work plan with indicative deadlines has been drawn up. Both countries aim to hold the third and fourth rounds of negotiations from June 5-16 and July 3-14, respectively, to pave the way for an early conclusion of negotiations.
The second Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) meeting for the G20 will take place on May 23-25 in Bengaluru. In dedicated technical sessions, G20 delegates will deliberate on priorities for WTO reform, trade for growth and prosperity, resilient global value chains, integrating MSMEs in global trade, and efficient logistics for trade. The meeting will set the stage for building consensus among G20 countries on deliverables and outcomes proposed by India on global trade and investment-related issues.
India is taking an active stance in pushing forward with its negotiations for various FTAs, emphasizing the importance of concluding these talks as soon as possible. With promising progress made in each of these negotiations, it is hoped that these FTAs will significantly benefit the economies of India and its partner countries.