India’s Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said India is seeking a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with 5 countries – UAE, UK, Australia, Canada and Israel which are in various stages of progress, from near finalization to the start of talks with visits.
Speaking at a press conference, Piyush Goyal said: “We are seeking a free trade agreement, a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which is about to be finalized.”
The pact was due to take place during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s next visit to the United Arab Emirates this week, but the visit could not take place due to the Omicron variant crisis.
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With Australia, he said, “We are also at a very advanced stage with Australia on concluding the interim agreement which will cover very broad areas of interest, in particular the intensive sectors. such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, footwear, leather products, agricultural products. Thus, we are working with emphasis on the expansion of bilateral relations with several countries. ”
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Trade Minister Dan Tehan visited New Delhi last year to speed up the negotiation process. Australia, against which China had launched a trade war as part of the militarization of trade, is seeking to diversify its trade relations.
The Indian minister confirmed with the UK that New Delhi “hopes to launch FTA talks later this month” and put in place an “interim trade deal perhaps by March of this year.”
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UK International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will travel to India later this month for talks on a trade deal that could see the UK offering to relax visa regulations for Indians, according to UK newspapers. .
London wants a trade pact with New Delhi in a post-Brexit world, especially in the context of its tilt towards the Indo-Pacific.
Mentioning Canada, he said: “The Canadian Minister has also expressed his interest in the G20, the Canadian Prime Minister has expressed the desire to rapidly expand trade relations with India and we hope to launch negotiations with Canada in the next 2-3 months ”.
Bilateral merchandise trade amounted to US $ 6.73 billion in 2019-2020 regarding India-Canada trade relationship. Canadian pension funds have invested approximately US $ 32.6 billion in India through 2020.
The minister underlined the “dialogue with Israel” on the FTA, said: “a deep engagement with our missions on board has started with companies and importers from other countries”.
India is Israel’s third largest trading partner in Asia and seventh globally. The two countries currently have US $ 4.14 billion in trade (April 2020 – February 2021), a figure that does not include defense trade which is increasing.