India Inc favour FTA with Britain

Highlights

India and the European Union are unlikely to conclude the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in the \"near future\" given a complex nature of the the 28-nation bloc and its vast internal issues, Assocham said on Thursday.

New Delhi : India and the European Union are unlikely to conclude the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in the "near future" given a complex nature of the the 28-nation bloc and its vast internal issues, Assocham said on Thursday.

As negotiations for a Broad-Based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with the European Union (EU) are heading "nowhere", India should press for a separate free trade agreement with Britain, the industry chamber said. It would be much easier to negotiate and finalise a deal with Britain, which also needs a vast Indian market for reviving its economy, it added.

"Given a complex nature of the EU structure and its vast internal issues, there is no likelihood of reaching a deal with the 28-nation bloc in the near future," it said in a statement. Impetus for FTA with the UK should be given right away during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing visit to the UK, the industry body said.

The protracted negotiations with the EU on the trade opening pact are causing India a great opportunity cost, it said. Further, it said, "With global slowdown hitting our exports, India needs easier market access in major markets without much delay. So, why not have an independent FTA with the UK".

Given the vibrancy of the British economy and a growth potential in India, the two can work together for mutual benefit in the areas of high technology, financial services, education, health, IT, textiles, urban infrastructure and defence, the chamber said.

Expressing disappointment and concern over the EU banning sale of around 700 pharma products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences, India has in August deferred the talks with the EU on the proposed free trade agreement.

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