Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, said that India and the United Kingdom will begin the process of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) shortly.
According to the Minister, it has been agreed that India and the UK would look at an early harvest agreement to begin with. The early harvest agreement could take the form of a Preferential Trade Agreement with about 40-50 items of trade interest between the two countries.
In terms of supply chains, the Minister stated that the world was now looking at more resilient supply chains and was of the view that the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative provide a good opportunity for India and the UK to work together.
The Minister stated that India was witnessing a rapid recovery. To give a few indicators, he stated that railway freight in the first 13 days of September rose by 12% as compared to the same period last year. Merchandise exports during the second week of September had risen by 10.73% as compared to the same period last year.
The Minister highlighted that India was focusing on becoming self-reliant and COVID-19 had led to the creation of the protective equipment industry in India virtually overnight.