India-UK free trade agreement heading toward Diwali deadline, says Boris Johnsontext_fields
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) is heading as per the timeline. He added that it will be the biggest yet in the post-Brexit context.
He was speaking at the start of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. The UK PM said the Commonwealth advantage adds immense value to all 54-member countries of the organisation.
Noting that India is the largest member of the grouping, he said the South Asian nation will be at the same table as the smallest nation for CHOGM, indicating the diverse strengths of the Commonwealth. "The Pacific archipelago of Tuvalu (population of 11,000) will be at the same table as India (population 1.3 billion)".
He wrote in The Daily Telegraph that the Commonwealth combines vast and rapidly growing markets with a real and quantified trading advantage. "That is why we are mobilising the UK's regained sovereignty to sign free trade or economic partnership agreements with as many Commonwealth countries as possible".
The UK has already signed partnerships with 33 nations including Australia and New Zealand. The British PM said the government is now aiming for India, the biggest of Commonwealth nations, by Diwali in October 2022. Talks of free trade between the UK and India are in the fourth round of talks. Jonson said things are going well and making rapid progress.
Johnson wrote that all Commonwealth nations are joined by an invisible thread of shared values, history, institutions, and the English language despite the differences. He added that it creates a unique opportunity for Britain.
Indian High Commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar recently said the Indian Ministry of Commerce has opened up so many more areas to the UK. She added that India and the UK have so many complementary strengths. Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had also indicated the FTA is making good progress toward the Diwali deadline.