Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations are “going on as we speak”. She added that the FTAs are being signed at a much “faster” pace nowadays while speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).
She also stated that the Indian government has just concluded FTAs with Australia, Mauritius, Japan, Korea, the UAE, and the ASEAN while adding the country has also extended quota-free and tariff-free regime to least developed countries.
“I think India has shown very clearly its initiative is working out well in pursuing with countries and agreeing to have FTA with them. We’ve had agreements with ASEAN, free trade agreements both in goods and services with ASEAN, we have had with Korea, with Japan,” the Union Finance Minister said.
“So free trade agreements have bilaterally or with multilateral groups been the route which India has had till before 2014 and now between 2019 and today, we’ve had at least three major agreements signed. So, we shall proceed in that route, with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada. All three are happening now as we speak, the negotiations are going on,” she further added.
Sitharaman’s comments come after reports suggesting that the FTA talks between India and the UK were suspended over the latter’s failure to condemn vandalism by Khalistani supporters outside the Indian High Commission in London in March. India dismissed these reports as “baseless” on Monday.
British newspaper The Times reported citing senior sources within the UK government that the Indian government has “disengaged” from trade talks and said there would be no progress “without a public condemnation of the Khalistan movement”.
The India-UK free trade agreement talks were launched on June 17 last year.