Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan began negotiating a free trade agreement between the two countries on Thursday.
The trade agreement is expected to facilitate the target of doubling bilateral trade between India and United Kingdom by 2030, the commerce ministry said in an official release. The prime ministers of the two countries had announced the bilateral trade target in May.
India’s exports to the UK stood at $8.15 billion (over Rs 60,000 crore) in 2020-’21 while the imports were worth $4.95 billion (over Rs 36,000 crore), according to PTI.
“Those who understand agreements, recognise that both sides have to win in a free trade agreement,” Goyal said at the launch. “Our efforts will be to bring new avenues of growth for both countries. We will expand trade between the countries to increase employment for both.”
The minister said that negotiations on the agreement were expected to increase India’s exports in leather, textile, jewellery and processed agriculture products.
India’s main exports to the UK include readymade garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum products, transport equipment, spices, pharmaceuticals and marine products, according to PTI.
The country’s imports from Britain include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, chemicals and machinery.
Trevelyan reiterated at the event that India and UK aimed to double their trade by the end of this decade, ANI reported.
“This is part of the UK’s ambitious agenda to strengthen our strategic and economic partnership with India as it continues to cement its rightful place as an economic superpower,” she said.