Talks on free trade agreement with UK moving at faster pace: Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: Negotiations for the proposed free trade agreement between India and the UK is progressing at a faster pace, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.

The agreement is aimed at boosting bilateral trade and investments between the two countries. India has signed a trade pact with the UAE in a “record” time and “now our talks with the UK is moving at a faster pace”, Goyal said.

In such pacts, two or more countries significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on maximum number of goods traded between them. Besides, they ease norms for promoting trade in goods and investments.

In January, India and the UK formally launched talks for a free trade agreement. They have set the deadline for concluding talks by Diwali. India is also negotiating similar pacts with Canada, European Union (EU) and Israel, he said, adding that several other nations have shown keen interest in negotiating trade agreements with India.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) want to negotiate these pacts, he said.

However, he added that the commerce ministry does not have enough resources to simultaneously negotiate free trade pact with more nations.

GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region, namely, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. EFTA members are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Five-nation EAEU comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The minister was speaking at Vyapari Udyami Sammelan here. He asked the domestic traders body to focus on quality of products and work in a unity.

Goyal informed that the government is taking steps to reduce compliance burden. About 30,000 rules have either simplified or removed to ease compliance burden.

Source: Press Trust of India

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