India and the UK are working to iron out differences on issues like intellectual property rights (IPRs) and rules of origin under the agreement, negotiations for which were started in January 2021.
“On July 18, the UK and India concluded the eleventh round of talks for the UK-India FTA. Technical discussions were held across nine policy areas over 42 separate sessions. They included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these policy areas,” it said.
On July 10-11, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal visited the UK as part of the 11th round of the negotiations.
He met with Kemi Badenoch MP, the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, and Nigel Huddleston MP, the Minister of State for International Trade, where they discussed ways to make progress on the negotiations and wider trade and investment opportunities for the UK and India.
Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal, also visited the UK during the round. He met with senior UK trade officials and took stock of the progress made in the 11th round of negotiations.
The 12th round of negotiations is due to take place in the coming months.
The negotiations between the two countries for the agreement cover as many as 26 policy areas/chapters. Investment is being negotiated as a separate agreement (bilateral investment treaty) between India and the UK and it would be concluded simultaneously with the free trade agreement.
The two countries last year missed the deadline due to economic and political crises in the UK.
The Indian industry is demanding greater access for its skilled professionals in the UK market and entry of Indian whiskey by removal of conditions pertaining to the three-year minimum maturation period. The UK is also seeking a significant cut in the import duties on Scotch whisky. Britain is also looking for more opportunities for UK services in the Indian markets.
The bilateral trade between the countries has increased to USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23 from USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22.