India’s talks with the UK over the proposed free trade deal are on track, but New Delhi must “wait and watch” ongoing UK political developments, Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.
Embattled British Prime Minister Liz Truss has resigned as leader of the Conservative Party and has declared she can no longer exercise the mandate she was elected to last month, ending her humiliating tenure at 10 Downing Street on her 45th day in office after an open revolt against her chaotic leadership.
The 47-year-old outgoing Prime Minister will remain in office until her successor is elected by the ruling Tory party, with an accelerated leadership election due to be completed by next week.
“We’ll have to wait and see… what happens, if they have a quick leadership change, if it goes into the whole process… So let’s see who’s coming into government and what their views are. It is only after that will we be able to formulate a strategy towards the UK,” Mr Goyal said at the CII National Export Summit in New Delhi.
However, he added that politicians and businesses in the UK have generally acknowledged that it is “very” important for them to reach an FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with India as well.
“So I feel like anybody that comes into government wants to get involved with us,” he added.
The minister said the trade pact should be fair, just and balanced.
It has to be a win-win situation for both sides and there is no deal unless both are satisfied, he said.
“So we have to wait and watch. But I think our free trade deals with the UK, Canada, the EU, one or two more that we’ll be announcing soon are all on the right track,” Mr Goyal said.
He answered a question on developments in the UK and his FTA talks with India.
He also said that the $2 trillion export target of goods and services by 2027 “is challenging” and “we can get there by 2030.”
If the situation becomes favorable for India and the industry makes great efforts, “I will be the happiest person if we make it to 2027”, but unfortunately we lost time during Covid and we are losing momentum due to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which has caused so much economic tension around the world – inflation, supply chain disruptions, energy issues.
He added that if exports of goods grow at 12 percent CAGR in dollars and services at 18 to 19 percent, both could reach $1 trillion by 2030.
Speaking about Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) on standards, he said the Department found “very little” traction in many parts of the world to enter into MRAs.
“At the very least, developed countries are reluctant, for whatever reason, to accept too many MRAs…perhaps they need more time to build confidence in our ability to provide these high-value goods and services,” he said.
He added that the way forward is that India should also place quality control orders on products it wants to ship to India, and then “we’ll be on an equal footing when we say you give us an MRA and we’ll give you one.” MRA”.
Reciprocity is the way forward, he said.
However, he said Indian industry would raise concerns about Quality Control Contracts (QCOs) and would not support the government in this regard.
“I urge you all to think about this. Tell us in which industries you would like QCO so that we have some influence on the other countries and give us the opportunity to come to the negotiating table.
“Some of you are facing non-tariff barriers due to QCOs (from other countries). The US has 4,500 QCOs and we only have 450, and they are resisting our efforts to establish high quality standards,” Piyush Goyal said.
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