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Leather, sports goods, textiles to gain from FTA with EU : Piyush Goyal

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NEW DELHI : Ahead of the next round of negotiations between India and the European Union on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) at the end of this month, Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Piyush Goyal said that the pact will give greater market access for several domestic sectors such as textiles, leather and sports goods in the EU. He said said that the government is moving ahead on free trade pacts with Canada, European Union and the UK.

The two sides revived the talks on June 17 after a gap of more than eight years for agreements on trade, investments and geographical indications (GI). A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.

The next round of negotiations will take place from June 27-July 1 in New Delhi.

“It will open the doors, we believe, to our textiles, leather, pharma, sports goods, some agri products, handicrafts, handlooms. All this will get a bigger market. Our exports will increase,” said Goyal.

India had started negotiations for a trade and investment pact, called the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), with the 27-country economic bloc in 2007 but the talks were stalled in 2013 as both sides failed to reach an agreement on key issues, including customs duties on automobiles and spirits, and the movement of professionals.

Goyal said that the EU has strength in modern technologies, high-end precision equipment and “we will get the benefit of their modern technologies”.

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 Shri 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 .

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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