2 min read

Time's Relentless Pursuit

A 30-member official delegation from the United Kingdom is set to commence the next round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Indian team starting on Monday. The aim is to resolve outstanding issues and expedite the conclusion of talks between the two nations, according to an official statement.

Both countries recently concluded their 13th round of negotiations, with a team led by Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal visiting London last week to bolster the discussions. The UK team handling investment-related matters is already on-site, and progress is swift in the negotiations for the proposed bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with officials from the finance ministry.

“The 30-member team will arrive on Monday, and both sides are working to resolve remaining issues, including rules of origin. We are on the verge of finalizing everything,” the official remarked.

The “rules of origin” provision dictates that a minimal level of processing should occur in the FTA country to qualify the final manufactured product as originating from that country. This provision ensures that countries signing an FTA with India cannot simply label goods from a third country as their own to enter the Indian market. Instead, they must add a prescribed value to the product for export to India, effectively curbing the practice of dumping goods. Meanwhile, the investment treaty is being negotiated separately between India and the UK.

These investment treaties play a crucial role in promoting and safeguarding investments in each other’s territories. The primary point of contention in this agreement centers around the dispute resolution mechanism. India’s proposal suggests exhausting all local judicial remedies before resorting to international arbitration in the event of disputes.

Numerous rounds of consultations have taken place with domestic stakeholders in India to grant duty concessions, particularly in the automobile sector. The Indian industry seeks expanded access for skilled professionals, especially from IT and healthcare sectors, in the UK market, in addition to reduced customs duties on several goods.

Conversely, the UK is pushing for significant reductions in import duties on products such as Scotch whiskey, automobiles, lamb meat, chocolates, and specific confectionery items.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours