London, United Kingdom:
The UK Trade Secretary in charge of the negotiations said a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK is expected to be signed this year but it will not involve any push. about providing free travel visas for Indians.
Kemi Badenoch, who was in New Delhi last month to kick off the sixth round of FTA talks with Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, said former prime minister Boris Johnson’s “agreement before Diwali” deadline was last year. is not feasible and must be changed. .
In a recent interview with ‘The Times’, the UK Trade Secretary also ruled out any major similarities between the FTA the UK has signed with Australia – one of the first. after Brexit – and with India.
“We left the EU (European Union) because we don’t believe in freedom of movement, we don’t think it’s working. This is not a negotiated agreement on some form of free movement. with India,” Badenoch told the newspaper. See more visa incentives.
The minister indicated a willingness to make concessions on issues like business mobility, but ruled out Indians getting the same kind of deal as with Australia – allowing people under 35 to live and work. in the UK for three years.
The UK-India Young Professionals Scheme, which officially launched earlier this month, is seen as overcoming this barrier by issuing annual visas to 3,000 graduates aged 18 to 30 to live. and work in either country for up to two years.
“We have to make sure that each trade agreement we sign is country-specific. The kind of mobile offer I could do with a country like Australia wouldn’t be the same as the kind of mobile offer that I would give to a country like Australia. transition that I can do with a country like India, which has many times the population,” Badenoch said.
“And what people from the UK want to do when they come to Australia is probably a bit different from what they do when they come to India and vice versa,” she told ‘The Times’.
Different from the previous Tory government’s approach to term FTA negotiations as “unhelpful”, Badenoch reiterated Rishi Sunak has led the government’s more flexible approach going forward.
“The ‘deal before Diwali’ mantra is one of the things I’ve changed since I became Trade Secretary. I tell people it’s about the deal, not the date. I think having it. a fixed date to get everything done doesn’t help in a negotiation because the other side can run slow,” she says.
Johnson set the 2022 Diwali deadline for the FTA during his prime ministerial visit to India last April. However, amid major political upheavals in the UK, that deadline has been dropped and most ministers have been reluctant to set a new timeframe.
“I think there will be a deal this year. I don’t know when. But after a while if things don’t work out then people move on, both sides. I’d love to sign an agreement in this year,” he said. Badenoch.
According to official UK government data, India-UK bilateral trade currently stands at around GBP 29.6 billion per year. Both sides officially kicked off FTA negotiations early last year, with Sunak pledging to work “at speed” towards an FTA that doesn’t “sacrifice quality for speed” after the deadline. Diwali in October 2022 is missed.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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