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India, UK to launch Enhanced Trade Partnership during British PM’s India visit

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NEW DELHI: India and the UK have held discussions on promoting bilateral trade and investments between the two countries, and decided to launch an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) during the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson here.

The issue came up at a meeting between commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss MP on February 6.

“In a significant step forward, the ministers agreed that this partnership would formally be launched during the visit of the UK Prime Minister to India, later this year,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

Johnson, who had cancelled a trip to India where he would be the Chief Guest of the Republic Day celebrations citing the need to oversee the Covid-19 pandemic response in the UK, is likely to visit India ahead of the G7 Summit in June.

As per the statement, the two sides reviewed the ongoing engagements between the two sides for an ETP to develop a roadmap that would lead to a potential comprehensive FTA (free trade agreement), including considerations on an interim pact on a preferential basis. Last year, the two sides said they were committed to a free trade agreement that will start off with early harvest agreements.

India’s goods exports to the UK were $4.55 billion in April-November FY21 while imports were $2.61 billion.

“They also reviewed progress in removing market access barriers on both sides and ongoing cooperation in response to Covid-19,” the ministry said.

The two sides also expressed commitment to relaunch the UK-India CEO Forum and agreed on the Forum’s meeting at the earliest, according to the statement.

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