india: India, United Kingdom conclude round 1 of free trade agreement talks

New Delhi: India and the United Kingdom on Friday concluded the first round of negotiations, for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the commerce and industry said in a Joint Outcome Statement.

The talks covered 26 policy areas including trade in goods and services such as financial services and telecommunications, investment, intellectual property, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, gender, sustainability and geographical indicators.

“Both teams maintain a shared ambition to conclude negotiations by the end of 2022- as part of both sides’ efforts to secure a comprehensive agreement,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the negotiations were “productive”.

The negotiations were held virtually for over weeks and saw the coming together of technical experts from both counties for discussions in 32 separate sessions.

India and the UK formally launched negotiations for an FTA earlier this month with an aim to put an interim agreement in place by mid-April followed by a comprehensive deal by the end of the year.

The second round of negotiations is due to take place on March 7-18.

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