Working on finalizing FTA “as quickly as possible”: UK PM Rishi Sunak

by The Canadian Parvasi

At the House of Commons session on the G20 summit, Indian-origin UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that both the UK and India are working on materialising the Free Trade Agreement between the nations as quickly as possible.

When questioned by Opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer, Sunak affirmed that the majority of talks regarding the FTA had already happened last month and that he had conversed about the updates on the agreement with PM Modi in his first meeting with the Indian PM since holding office.

“I discussed the free trade agreement with India, and both the Prime Minister of India and I committed our teams to work as quickly as possible to see if we can bring a successful conclusion to the negotiations,” asserted Sunak.

The agreement, which aimed at doubling bilateral commerce by 2030, was to be signed between the countries by late October, but due to unspecified reasons, is yet to be finalised.

British officials are likely to visit India in December to talk about finalising the FTA between the two countries in about four months, according to media reports.

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“Without negotiating all these things in public, I am pleased that the majority of the substantive negotiation conversations were concluded by the end of October. We will now work at pace with the Indian teams to try to resolve the issues and come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion.” continued Sunak.

Ex-PM Boris Johnson, while at the HT Summit in Gujrat this month, had also professed his wish for a free trade agreement to be signed, stating that should have been signed before Diwali this year.

“Let us finally deliver that free trade agreement which mysteriously seems to have developed a flat tyre since I left office. Prime Minister Modi and I said it will be done by Diwali. I’m not going to wait till the next Diwali before we do that free trade deal. I wonder what the holdup is,” Johnson queried.

Speaking on the Diwali deadline, Sunak asserted that he would not “sacrifice quality for speed.”

Despite there not being such an agreement in place as of now, some reports suggest that bilateral trade between India and UK has increased by 28%.


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