India and the UK have held conferences on promoting bilateral trade and investments between the 2 countries, and decided to launch an Enhanced Trade Partnership during the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to India.
The issue came up at a meeting between Piyush Goyal, commerce and industry minister, and Elizabeth Truss MP, UK Secretary of State for International Trade on February 6.
“In an important step forward, the ministers agreed that this partnership would formally be launched during the visit of the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to India, later this year,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.
Boris Johnson, who had cancelled his trip to India where he would be the Chief Guest of the Republic Day celebrations citing the need to oversee the Covid-19 pandemic response in the UK, is likely to visit India ahead of the G7 Summit in June.
As per the statement, the 2 sides reviewed the ongoing engagements between the 2 sides for an Enhanced Trade Partnership to develop a roadmap that would lead to a potential comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, including considerations on an interim pact on a preferential basis. In the year 2020, the 2 sides said they were committed to a free trade agreement that will start off with early harvest agreements.
It added that both the ministers agreed to expand the trade cooperation between the 2 countries through an Enhanced Trade Partnership.
India's goods exports to the UK were USD 4.55 billion from April-November FY21 while imports were USD 2.61 billion.
“They have also reviewed progress in removing market access barriers on both sides and ongoing cooperation in response to Covid-19 situation,” the ministry said.
The 2 sides also expressed commitment to re-launch the UK-India CEO Forum and agreed on the Forum’s meeting at the earliest, according to the statement.