UK and India FTA talks now in final stages, business mobility in focus

In discussions between UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and her Indian counterparts, it was revealed on Thursday that India and Britain are “actively” discussing business mobility under the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) and the negotiations are now in the final stages but insisted that it is hard to set a timeline for its conclusion as “the hardest bits of any negotiation tend to come towards the end”.

Speaking during the G20 trade and investment ministers meeting, Badenoch clarified that matters related to broader visa liberalization fall outside the scope of trade agreements and instead pertain to immigration concerns. The Indian business sector has expressed a desire for uncomplicated entry for domestic professionals into the UK.

 “We have closed many chapters… perhaps the simpler tasks. We are now in the final stages (of FTA negotiations), I can’t give a deadline. Anything can happen,” she said.

Earlier in the day, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the ongoing FTA negotiations are progressing “extremely well” and expected to conclude at an early date.

The Minister of Commerce and Industry said both sides are confident that they will come out with a “very” balanced, equitable and fair agreement in the interest of businesses and people of both countries.

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