India in talks with EU for free trade agreement

New Delhi: – India has started talks regarding Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union. At the same time India, has expressed willingness to start discussions regarding Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal announced that India is also willing to sign the Preferential Treatment Agreement (PTA) with the United Kingdom, before the FTA.  

Following the Coronavirus crisis, there is tremendous anger brewing in the world against China and all the countries are trying to reduce Chinese influence in their economies. Australia and the European countries are making such efforts. India also is making efforts to attract foreign investment along with efforts to make new opportunities available to the Indian exporters. Against this background, the information revealed by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, regarding the moves initiated to sign FTAs with the European Union and the United Kingdom, becomes significant.   

The negotiations regarding the FTA have been started with the European Union. Goyal said that he has already held discussions with the Trade Commissioner of the European Union and expressed hope that the agreement will be in place soon. India is open to discussions on various issues. Goyal underlined that India is willing to initially sign the PTA with the United Kingdom and further the discussion on the FTA, keeping the ultimate goal of signing FTA with the United Kingdom.   

Now everything depends on the European Union and the United Kingdom. They have to take the decision. India has not drawn any red lines. The Commerce Minister said that India-UK trade can grow in the medicines, garments, industrial machinery and furniture sectors.  

Prolonged negotiations have taken place between India and the European Union, in the past. But they had failed. The talks were ended in 2013 after six years of negotiations. Against this background, the discussions started by India on the FTA with the European Union become significant.   

Goyal informed that the union government was preparing to relax the rules controlling foreign investments further, to attract more and more investments. The rules for investments in mining, banking and capital markets were amended recently. Goyal said that now, steps are being taken to ease the FDI regulations.  

Meanwhile, India is only second to the United States, in terms of investments in the United Kingdom. A report has been published in this respect, saying that India has invested in 106 projects in the United Kingdom, in the year 2019-20. This goes to show that the trade relations between India and the United Kingdom have become stronger. 

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