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UK-India Business Council for early conclusion of FTA negotiations

Kolkata: UK-India Business Council (UKIBC), a trade body with a mission to grow trade and investments between the two countries, on Monday said the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) should conclude before the general elections due in both nations next year.

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Thirteen rounds of negotiations have been already completed between India and the UK on the FTA.

“Because of the general elections in India and the UK going to polls next year, it is important that the negotiations for the proposed FTA are concluded early. Otherwise, there will be a pause in the negotiations while the general elections are on,” UKIBC Managing Director Kevin McCole said.

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He said though the election date in the UK has not yet been fixed, the polls may be held between May and November next year.

There is a risk that negotiations may have to pause till the elections in India and the UK are over, he said.

McCole also said that the bilateral investment treaty between the two countries will help investments from the UK to India rise and vice-versa.

According to him, out of GBP62 billion invested globally by the UK in 2021, India only got GBP 2 billion.

“Once the bilateral investment treaty is signed, one could expect a larger share of the UK’s global investments in India”, he added.

McCole said the UK is open to lower its tariffs on textiles from India.

“Presently, tariff on textiles from India is 12 per cent. Tariffs on textiles from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are lower,” he said.

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