UK-India FTA negotiations maintain momentum with visit of Piyush Goyal to the UK

By Kealan Finnegan

Shri Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of Commerce & Industry, finished a 2-day visit to the UK today in which he met with his UK counterpart, Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, and UK and Indian businesses across several roundtables and meetings.

It was the first in-person meeting of Mr Goyal and Ms Trevelyan since they jointly launched FTA negotiations in January in New Delhi. The UKIBC was delighted to engage with Mr Goyal throughout, and to continue the constructive G2G and B2G dialogue, including with UKIBC members, that is so important to a successful trade deal.

After a bilateral meeting on Thursday to discuss India-UK trade and economic cooperation including the ongoing FTA negotiations, Minister Goyal and SoS Trevelyan met with FTA lead negotiators Nidhi Tripathi and Harjinder Kang, India High Commissioner to the UK, HE Gaitri Issar Kumar, and business leaders, including UKIBC Executive Chair Richard Heald. On Friday, Mr Goyal and High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar then held a vibrant discussion, moderated by UKIBC Managing Director Kevin McCole, in front of more than 80 UK and Indian businesses, before focussed roundtables on manufacturing and financial services.

After the meeting with Minister of Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal and Secretary of State the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and a number of UK trading associations, UKIBC Executive Chair Richard Heald said: “We at the UKIBC welcome the continued, and very positive, engagement between our Governments towards a UK-India Free Trade Agreement. It has been important for the process to have Shri Piyush Goyal here in London meeting with Secretary of State Trevelyan and engaging with businesses in the UK-India corridor, as they did when launching the negotiations in January in Delhi. We commented on the progress being made between both Governments and stressed the equal importance of similar and parallel progress being made on technical barriers to trade. With potentially just five months out from a UK-India FTA, as the Prime Ministers have instructed their governments to work towards, UKIBC continues to support the negotiating teams of both sides with businesses feeding into the FTA discussions as the final agreement will only be successful if it works for both Indian and UK business. The UKIBC are delighted to support both Governments and our members throughout the process and I have reiterated my support to Mr Goyal and Ms Trevelyan again here today.”

Speaking after moderating a discussion with Minister Goyal on Friday, UKIBC Managing Director Kevin McCole said: “It is important that Minister Goyal visited the UK this week to sustain engagement on the FTA negotiations and to talk to businesses about his ambitions for a deal. In just 4 months there have been three rounds of negotiations, with another starting in mid-June, a PM bilateral in India, and now a ministerial bilateral in London this week. This journey reflects the political will, pace, and positivity on both sides to secure an FTA. It is also testament to the strong UK-India partnership, between our Governments, and between Government and business. The UKIBC team is really looking forward to working with our members and clients, and with both Governments in the coming months to achieve an FTA that can truly unlock the great UK-India potential.”

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