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British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis said on Tuesday that the best way to celebrate Diwali this year will be the finalisation of the free trade agreement between India and the United Kingdom (UK).
This is the first event that the British High Commissioner attended since the 10-day national mourning in the UK, following the demise of Queen Elizabeth II.
Ellis also stressed on the need for increased trade and investment between both nations. “Free trade agreements (FTAs) are an effective way to increase employment and growth in our countries,” he said at an industry event organised by body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
He added that there is "high ambition” to complete the India-UK FTA by Diwali--a deadline set earlier by both nations, adding that it would be an auspicious date.
The best thing that both nations have done together in the last two years is to combine the UK’s academic and research excellence with India’s manufacturing power to create the Covishield vaccine, he said.
Currently, both countries are at the last leg of negotiations towards a trade deal that kick-started in January.
Rajendra Ratnoo, joint secretary DPIIT, who was also present at the event said that a major part of the trade deal has been thrashed out while certain areas remain which are being discussed.
“There is considerable positive sentiment over the potential of the foreign trade agreement between India and the UK and the anticipated economic benefits to businesses on both sides. The zeal and enthusiasm with which the FTA negotiations are progressing are a testimony to our commitment to double bilateral trade by 2030,” said Ratnoo.
Ratnoo added that the trade pact is expected to provide certainty, predictability, transparency, and create a more bilateral facilitative and competitive services regime. India is expected to register a quantum jump as the FTA will give a major thrust to Indian export and labour-intensive sectors like leather, textile, jewellery etc. Services like IT, ITES, nursing, education and healthcare are also likely to get huge thrust, he said.
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First Published: Tue, September 20 2022. 19:20 IST