India-UK free trade agreement to boost economic ties: UKIBC

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NEW DELHI: A free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK will help boost two-way commerce and investments between the countries, a UKIBC’s report said.
The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) said the joint trade review being undertaken by both the sides is an important initiative, which will secure quicker wins.
“An India-UK free trade agreement would, no doubt, boost trade by lowering tariffs and aligning standards. This, however, will not happen quickly,” the council said in its report – The UK and India: The Bilateral Trade Relationship.
In a FTA, two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on most number of goods traded between them besides liberalise norms to promote services trade and boost investments.
Besides, the report suggested for a tighter alignment of the bilateral economic architecture, including the UK-India CEO Forum and Joint Economic and Trade Committee.
It also called for a focused outreach campaigns in both the countries, informing trade associations about the opportunities in each other markets and ways to access them.
It recommended that like the UK’s Department for International Trade’s Export Opportunities programme, which identifies opportunities in India for UK exporters, Indian government should also consider introducing a similar programme.
Further, it stated that huge potential exists for businesses of both the countries to increase trade and investments.
“UK exporters will see growth across sectors, but particularly in food and drink, healthcare, machine tools, and technology-focused areas like smart cities, cyber security and digital services,” the report said.
It added that Indian exporters could explore areas like pharmaceutical, apparel, footwear, vehicles and electronic equipment.
On investment side, the report said that industry 4.0 provide opportunities for the UK and India to enhance collaboration.

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