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India, UK intensify talks to sign interim trade deal by Dec

India, UK intensify talks to sign interim trade deal by Dec

The interim deal will be a part of the mega-trade agreement that's aimed at cutting tariffs on a number of items, boosting infrastructure investment and allowing bigger access to services and goods

Trade talks are considered significant after India pulled out of RCEP in 2019 Trade talks are considered significant after India pulled out of RCEP in 2019

Talks are on between India and the United Kingdom as both nations seek greater market access and removal of non-tariff barriers. Both  nations are aiming to finalise an interim agreement by December, under which British medical devices and agricultural products like apples, quinces and peers will get greater access to Indian markets.

India, on the other hand, will seek employment opportunities for Indian seafarers and nurses, Bloomberg reported citing government officials with knowledge of the matter. The trade talks also highlight the target set by both the nations, under which they want to double the mutual trade by 2030 from $15.4 billion currently.

India had initiated trade talks with the US, the UK and the EU, but only the UK has shown interest in signing a trade deal with the nation so far. The interim deal will be a part of the mega-trade agreement that's aimed at cutting tariffs on a number of items, boosting infrastructure investment and allowing bigger access to services and goods.

The trade talks between India and the UK are considered significant after India pulled out of a multilateral Asia trade deal, also known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), in 2019. As trade talks go on, the UK has listed out benefits India could get after it left the European Union. India is also seeking to foster ties with the UK and the US as it stays away from RCEP.

If both the nations sign the trade deal, it'll be India's first trade deal after 2011 when it signed a comprehensive trade deal with Malaysia. India had walked out of the RCEP agreement on November 4, 2020, as negotiations failed to address India's outstanding issues and concerns, especially relating to China's influence over the bloc. Total 15 countries signed the agreement, which is touted as the world's biggest-ever trade deal.

The RCEP members account for 25 per cent of the world GDP; 30 per cent of the world trade; 26 per cent of the FDI flow; and 45 per cent of the world's population. The combined trade of the RCEP members and India is estimated to be $2.7 trillion. The trade deal with the UK can give a much-needed boost to the government's plan to counter China's influence in the region.

Also read: RCEP trade deal: Lost opportunity for India? An explainer

Also read: RCEP: 5 reasons why India stayed away from world's largest trade deal