India-UK free trade agreement talks on hold till Lok Sabha elections conclude: Report

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The latest round of trade talks between Britain and India has concluded without a deal, with a British official saying an agreement could not be finalised ahead of the upcoming Indian elections.

The two countries have held stop-start talks over a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for two years and both are set to hold national elections in 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will bid for a rare third term in a vote that is due by May, with the exact date yet to be announced.

“Neither side is walking away from talks,” said one British official. “We simply do not yet have what we need to finalise a deal that meets our joint ambitions.”

Earlier this week, PM Modi and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reaffirmed their commitment to securing a new trade deal, which British ministers have said will take time to get right.

“The UK has been crystal clear that we won’t agree a deal until we reach ambitious outcomes on goods, services, and investment,” the British official said on Friday.

Earlier this week, India signed a free trade pact with a group of European nations – Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – committing to reduce tariffs, while New Delhi receives $100 billion in investments over the next 15 years.

Published By:

Devika Bhattacharya

Published On:

Mar 16, 2024

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