New Delhi: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that sensitive issues will not be a roadblock as both countries will not make them a necessary condition for the trade deal.
Goyal met UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan in New Delhi for the formal launch of negotiations for a free trade agreement. Both sides are holding deliberations over an array of trade opportunities of mutual interest, benefiting India and the UK.
India is seeking greater opportunities for Indians to live and work in Britain, and any trade deal could be contingent on relaxing rules and lowering fees for Indian students and professionals going to Britain.
“Nothing is necessarily a deal-breaker in this agreement,” Goyal said. “And I will not think there is any way for anybody to worry about issues which are sensitive to any country, because both sides have agreed that sensitive issues are not our priority,” he added.
“Met with UK Secretary of State for International Trade @AnnieTrev for the launch of India-UK Free Trade Agreement Negotiations,” Goyal said in a tweet.
Held a productive discussion with Secretary of State for International Trade @AnnieTrev at the India-UK Joint Economic & Trade Committee.
Deliberated on enhanced market access, greater multilateral cooperation & full support to ongoing FTA negotiations between & pic.twitter.com/3KjS5aK4ZX
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) January 13, 2022
Britain has made a deal with India one of its post-Brexit priorities as, free from the European Union`s common trade policy, ministers look to gear trade policy towards faster-growing economies around the Indo-Pacific region.
India’s exports to the UK stood at USD 8.15 billion in 2020-21, while imports aggregated at USD 4.95 billion.
India’s main exports to the UK include ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum products, transport equipment, spices, pharmaceuticals and marine products.
Imports from Britain include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, chemicals and machinery.
In the services sector, the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT services.