Negotiations between Britain and India for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
are "well advanced", with the next round of talks set to commence
very soon, a UK Foreign Office minister said during the debate in Parliament
here, asserting that a strong deal could boost the country's economy.
Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Foreign Office Minister for South Asia, also
said Britain's relationship with India
is central to its foreign policy and as one of the world's biggest
economies it is a key partner.
He confirmed that negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement
(FTA) are "well advanced", with the next round of negotiations set to
commence very soon.
"It is true that, as we set up and strengthen this relationship,
the United Kingdom's relationship with India is central to UK foreign
policy," said Ahmad. "As one of the world's biggest and
fastest-growing economies, India is a key partner to the UK. We are also
looking at lowering non-tariff barriers on medical devices to benefit British
exporters, and are well advanced in our negotiations for an ambitious and
balanced free trade agreement," he said.
A strong trade deal with India could boost the UK economy by billions of
pounds over the long term, helping families across the country, he said.
"As an update, we have now completed six rounds of negotiations for
a trade deal and will begin the next round very soon. Several noble Lords
talked about timelines.
According to official
UK government data, India-UK bilateral trade currently stands at around 29.6
billion pounds a year.