Hopeful for conclusion of India-UK free trade agreement by Diwali: Goyal

Hopeful for conclusion of India-UK free trade agreement by Diwali: Goyal

New Delhi: Union minister Piyush Goyal has expressed hope that the free trade agreement between India and the United Kingdom will be concluded by Diwali.

The minister for commerce and industry and textiles said that the government is moving ahead on free trade pacts with Canada, European Union and the UK.

Moreover, Goyal informed that Australia, Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Countries have expressed interest to forge Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with India, along with Eurasia and Brazil.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic union of Arab states bordering the Gulf. It was established in 1981 and its six members include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Diwali in October was set as a timeline for a draft FTA after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former's visit to the country last month.

"All countries are eager to make friendship with India, as we offer huge opportunity and promise. We are moving ahead on FTA with Canada, EU, UK. Australia, Even GCC and Israel along with Eurasia and Brazil have shown their interest to forge FTA with India. I am hopeful that by Diwali, India-UK FTA will be concluded," Goyal said.

He was addressing at the inauguration of the 67th India International Garment Fair at Greater Noida on Monday.

He observed that apparel, fashion jewellery and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) are three industries where India has to grow.

Total trade between India and the UK stood at USD 16 billion in FY22 (Apr-Feb). The UK was India's 17th largest trading partner during the period.

A free trade agreement is a trade pact according to international law to form a free trade area between the cooperating states.

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