India looking at FTA with UAE, UK, Australia, Canada, Israel: Trade minister Piyush Goyal

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 03, 2022, 08:45 PM(IST)

File photo: Piyush Goyal. Photograph:( ANI )

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Piyush Goyal said, 'We are looking for a free trade agreement, a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which is close to finalisation'

India's trade minister Piyush Goyal has said India is looking to have free trade agreement (FTA) with 5 countries - UAE, UK, Australia, Canada and Israel which are in various stages of progress, from near finalisation to the start of talks with visits. 

Speaking at a presser, Piyush Goyal said, "We are looking for a free trade agreement, a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which is close to finalisation." 

The pact was to happen during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming visit to UAE this week, but the visit could not happen due to Omicron variant crisis.

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With Australia, he said, "We are also at a very advanced stage with Australia on concluding the interim agreement which will cover very large areas of interests, particularly labour oriented sectors like textiles, pharma, footwear, leather products, agricultural products. So, we are working with a great focus on expanding bilateral relations with several countries." 

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and trade minister Dan Tehan had visited New Delhi last year to expedite the negotiation process. Australia, against which China had launched a trade war as part of weaponisation of trade is looking to diversify trading ties.

The Indian minister confirmed with the UK, New Delhi is "hoping to launch later this month" FTA talks and get an "interim trade agreement in place maybe by march this year". 

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According to British newspapers, UK's international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan will be travelling to India later this month for talks on a trade deal which can see the UK offering to relax visa regulations for Indians. 

London is keen on a trade pact with New Delhi in a post-Brexit world, especially in the backdrop of its tilt to the Indo-pacific.
 
Mentioning Canada, he said, "Canadian minister has also shown interest at G20, Canadian PM had expressed desire to rapidly expand trade relations with India and we are hoping to launch negotiations with Canada in the next 2-3 months". 

Bilateral trade in goods amounted to US$ 6.73 billion in 2019-20 when it comes to India-Canada trading ties. Canadian Pension Funds have invested around US$ 32.6 billion in India till 2020.

The minister point to "dialogue with Israel" on FTA said, "deep engagement with our missions aboard has started with businesses and importers of other countries."

India is Israel's third-largest trade partner in Asia and seventh largest globally. Both countries currently have US$4.14 billion of trade (April 2020 – February 2021), a figure that doesn't include the defense trade which has been increasing.

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