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HomeHeadline newsUK-India trade talks on hold until after election

UK-India trade talks on hold until after election


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THE latest round of trade talks between Britain and India has concluded without a deal, with a British official saying an agreement could not be finalised ahead of the upcoming Indian elections.

The two countries have held stop-start talks over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for two years and both are set to hold national elections in 2024.

Prime minister Narendra Modi will bid for a rare third term in a vote that will be held in phases from April to June.

“Neither side is walking away from talks,” said one British official. “We simply do not yet have what we need to finalise a deal that meets our joint ambitions.”

The next round of formal trade talks will commence after India’s elections have concluded.

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Earlier last week Modi and British prime minister Rishi Sunak reaffirmed their commitment to securing a new trade deal, which British ministers have said will take time to get right.

“The UK has been crystal clear that we won’t agree a deal until we reach ambitious outcomes on goods, services, and investment,” the British official said last Friday (15).

“We anticipate that while some talks might happen between rounds, the next round of negotiations will take place after the Indian elections,” official sources in the UK said.

“Neither side is walking away from talks. It’s just that we don’t have what we need yet to finalise a deal that meets our joint ambition across goods, services and investment. We’re very proud of the track record we have and how far we’ve been able to come with this trade deal so far. Negotiators have worked really hard in the past few years and we’ve managed to get a lot of chapters closed,” the sources said.

Last week, India’s commerce and industry minister, Piyush Goyal, said in an interview in New Delhi that long-term benefits for the economy were the key in such FTA negotiations and that India was seeking a “balanced, fair and equitable” deal.

British business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said during a trade conference in London earlier that while a trade deal with India is “possible” before general elections in the country, Britain does not want to use that as a deadline.



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