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PM Modi discussed early conclusion” of the FTA with Rishi Sunak

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NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi spoke with UK counterpart Rishi Sunak on Tuesday and discussed “early conclusion” of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). “Had a good conversation with PM Rishi Sunak. We reaffirmed our commitment to further strengthen the bilateral Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and work for early conclusion of a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement,” PM Modi posted in X.

Meanwhile, a press release by the government informed that two leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to continue to strengthen the bilateral Comprehensive Strategic partnership”.

“They assessed positively the progress made towards early conclusion of a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement,” the release said.

The leaders also “expressed satisfaction on the progress made under the Roadmap 2030″ in different areas including trade, investment, defence, security and emerging technologies.

As per the release, PM Modi and Sunak exchanged greetings on the upcoming festive occasion of Holi. “The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and global developments of mutual interest,” it added.

India and the UK are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) — the talks over which started in 2022. The 13th round of negotiations between the two countries took place from September 18 to December 15, 2023. The 14th round of talks were to start in January 2024.

During the meetings, negotiators discussed complex issues, including goods, services, and investment, in person as well as virtually. India and the United Kingdom’s bilateral trade grew from $17.5 billion in 2021–2022 to $20.36 billion in 2022–2023.

During Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the UK in January, Rishi Sunak expressed hope that the ongoing FTA negotiations could be brought to a successful conclusion soon. The FTA was also discussed during External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar’s meeting with Sunak in November.

Meanwhile, India signed a $100 billion Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) bloc on Sunday. The EFTA is a trade organisation and free trade area consisting of four European states — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

PM Modi hailed the free trade pact, terming it a “watershed moment” in the history of ties between the five nations. He added that it is a “win win situation” for both countries.

India has inked trade deals with Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Australia, UAE, Mauritius and the 10-nation bloc ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

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