October 1, 2022
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FTA with UK likely by Diwali, talks on with many other countries: Piyush Goyal

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SAN FRANCISCO: India hopes to have a free trade agreement (FTA) with UK by this Diwali, and then reach an understanding with Canada by the end of this year. The second round of talks with the European Union are soon going to be held for a trade pact, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said here on Monday.
Political developments in the UK delayed the sealing of the pact that was earlier expected by August-end. “(The) political changes may have derailed by few week, but I do hope (that) with Her excellency Liz Truss assuming Prime Ministership of UK, we may now be able to make up for some lost time (to conclude the FTA negotiations),” Goyal said here on Monday.
India and the UK had this January initiated FTA discussions to boost trade ties when Truss was the international trade secretary and Boris Johnson was the PM. FTA allow countries to reduce customs duties to make goods competitive in each other’s markets, apart from allowing greater access.
“We are at an advanced stage (of FTA talks) with the UK.. Anne-Mary, who is currently the trade and investment Minister, and I are in regular contact and we are shooting for an agreement between India and UK within the next few months possibly by Diwali,” Goyal said. While the UK side is taking about its scotch and automobiles, India is pitching for goods where it has a manufacturing edge.
“India has become one of the world’s attractive investment destinations and it is evident from the way world leaders and developed countries are making every effort to expand trade and investments into India and looking for bilateral agreement,” he added.
He expressed confidence to reach an early progress trade agreement with Canada by this December. Discussions are on with Israel too. “The second round of talks with EU will happen very soon. But being 27 countries, it will take a longer. India is opening up discussions on never before subjects like gender, environment, SMEs, labour, anti corruption laws,” he said.
Goyal is in a dialogue with US department of commerce too on the issue. “…may be American government (could) have a rethink on their their new FTA policy. So that they don’t miss the bus. We are very focused on international trade and investment. I do believe the 3 Ts of our work today rest on Trade , Technology and talent. And around this 3 Ts we bring to the table a partnership of trust. And it is that trusted partner you get when you do business with India. US commerce secretary Gina Raimondo and I are in dialogued to very quickly come up with our next commercial dialogue,” he said.
“India-US trade relations are extremely strong. But the US administration as a policy is not looking at FTA with any new partner. Should they change their mind, India would be happy and willing to discuss. Without that also we are engaged in attracting investment, technology, trade between the two countries. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) will ease the contours of trade and help create partnerships between business in two countries,” he said.
Meanwhile addressing the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) here on Monday, Goyal said India will become a $30 trillion economy in the next three decades. India is currently $3.3 trillion economy.
While other economies will grow 2-3 times over the next 25 years, India will grow 10-15 times its current size. Asking foreign companies not to miss the opportunity, he asked them to invest in India. He exhorted Indian CAs to act as ambassadors of ‘brand India’ and help attract investments for the country.





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