India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets

India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets
India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets
India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets
India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets

India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets

India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets

India-UK Free Trade Agreement Enters Crucial Phase as Committee of Secretaries Meets

The India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) is advancing to its finalization stage, with the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) addressing key aspects of the agreement. As negotiations approach the final deal, contentious issues such as intellectual property rights (IPR), rules of origin, and bilateral investment treaties (BIT) have been under discussion.

The CoS meeting holds significance as both nations have accelerated weekly negotiations to fine-tune the details of the FTA, requiring commitments from various government ministries, from finance to food processing. Intellectual property rights have been a pivotal topic of discussion. India, as the world’s largest provider of generic drugs, relies on the availability of affordable generics to serve its aging population. The UK, on the other hand, is a leader in life science innovation and seeks robust IPR protection. However, it also depends on Indian generics to maintain cost-effectiveness in its state-run health system.

Trade between India and the UK has been on the rise, reaching $20.36 billion in 2022-23, up from $17.5 billion in 2021-22. India’s primary exports to the UK encompass various sectors, including textiles, gems and jewelry, engineering goods, petroleum products, machinery, pharmaceuticals, and more. The UK’s exports to India include precious stones, engineering goods, chemicals, machinery, and others.

The services sector has a significant presence, with the UK being the largest market in Europe for Indian IT services. Investment flows are also substantial, as the UK is one of the top investors in India. In 2022-23, India received $1.74 billion in foreign direct investment from the UK, compared to $1 billion in 2021-22. Between April 2000 and March 2023, investments reached $33.9 billion.

FTAs like the India-UK agreement aim to reduce or eliminate customs duties on a range of traded goods and facilitate trade in services and investments. These agreements strengthen economic ties between trading partners and promote bilateral cooperation.

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