India-UK launch Enhanced Trade Partnership

To unleash the trade potential between the 5th and 6th largest economies of the world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counter part Boris Johnson have launched an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) during a virtual summit. The two leaders also agreed on a ‘2030 Roadmap’ which will provide a framework for UK-India relations across several sectors.

The ETP sets an ambitious target of more than doubling India-UK bilateral trade by 2030. As part of the ETP, India and the UK agreed on a roadmap to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA, including consideration of an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains. The ETP between India and UK will generate several thousands of direct and indirect jobs in both the countries, a statement from Indian Prime Minister’s Office said. 

“In the last week the British people have stepped up in their thousands to support our Indian friends during this terrible time in a demonstration of the deep connection between the UK and India,” said Prime Minister Johnson in a separate statement. “This connection will only grow over the next decade as we do more together to tackle the world’s biggest problems and make life better for our people. The agreements we have made today mark the beginning of a new era in the UK-India relationship.”

As part of the 2030 Roadmap, both nations confirmed their intent to finalise the pre-negotiation scoping phase for a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of 2021. “This will resolve market access issues, boost exports and strengthen our trade partnership across a comprehensive range of areas. Both sides will undertake respective scoping, consultations and domestic processes, with consideration of the opportunity arising from an Interim Agreement, to achieve the early gains of the ETP,” the Roadmap said.

Both nations agreed to remove barriers to trade through a balanced and beneficial market access package under the ETP, and continue cooperation under the Joint Working Group on Trade towards reducing/removing market access barriers faced by Indian businesses in the UK and UK businesses in India.

India and the UK will continue to share experience on regulatory reform, tax administration, and trade facilitation and standards through the early conclusion of a new and refreshed UK-India Ease of Doing Business MoU. Both countries shall encourage and institutionalise cooperation between relevant regulators, such as FSSAI and the UK regulator to facilitate exports and avoid trade disruptions due to non-compliance with standards by producers and exporters, the Roadmap said.

The countries will step up bilateral Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) trade and collaborations, particularly technology sharing and financing of businesses.

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