INTERNATIONAL DESK: United Kingdom House of Lords Member Baroness Verma on Saturday said the UK and India will have a great Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal and that the negotiations between the two countries are going well.
Baroness Verma told ANI, “I think first of all my expectations are we’re going to have a great FTA and I think it’s a very complicated, complex agreement. And we can’t expect things that are so complicated and so complex to be done overnight. But I know from all the conversations we’ve had, that everybody is working incredibly hard on all of the negotiations, and it’s going well.”
Expressing her views on the next FTA meeting, she said, “I think every meeting is critical. I think every meeting we have is a positive meeting and of course, if you’re negotiating at that level, there will be times when it does take a little longer than what people want. But that doesn’t mean that the FTA stalled. It just means that we’re working through it and I’m very optimistic.”
Talking about the target for trade between India and UK in terms of numbers, she mentioned both countries should look at maximising the relationship and outcome.
“I think we should go for the maximum that we can in each other’s relationship of building on what we can as a country work with India and how India can work with us,” she added.
Verma further said, both countries working closely on climate change issues, sustainability and solutions as the green sector is going to grow from strength to strength.
Baroness Verma also talked about India’s G20 presidency which she believes New Delhi is going to demonstrate that they have got a very clear vision of what is expected out of their presidency.
Notably, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday (local time) while speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) on Free Trade Agreements in Washington said that FTAs were being signed in a much faster way nowadays and also informed that the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations were going on as she spoke.
This confirmation came at a time when a recent report suggested that the FTA talks between the two countries are suspended over the UK’s failure to denounce vandalism by Khalistan supporters outside the Indian High Commission in London in March.
“Free Trade Agreements are being signed in a much faster way nowadays. We’ve just concluded one with Australia. Earlier we concluded with UAE, Mauritius and with ASEAN. We have extended quota-free and tariff-free regime to Least Developed Countries,” the Finance Minister said.
Earlier in the month, India had dismissed as “baseless” reports in British media stating that it had halted talks for a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom over the attack on the Indian high commission in London in March, government sources said.
London-based newspaper The Times in its April 10 edition, citing senior British government sources, reported that the Indian government has “disengaged” from trade talks and made it clear that there would be no progress “without a public condemnation of the Khalistan movement.”
Notably, the India-UK Free Trade Agreement talks were launched on June 17, 2022. (ET)