India, UK set to revive FTA talks; no new deadline yet

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India and the United Kingdom are set to resume formal talks for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the prime ministers of the two sides on Thursday agreeing on the need for its early conclusion, officials said.

While no new deadline to conclude the talks has been set after the Diwali target was missed, people aware of the developments said. India’s gains in lieu of likely duty cuts for British alcohol and automobiles, and visa flexibilities would be the focus areas.

So far, 16 chapters across 27 policy areas have been agreed to in the negotiations, they said.

Political changes in the UK and British home secretary Suella Braverman‘s recent remarks on Indians being the largest group of people overstaying in the UK were seen to be major hurdles in concluding a deal, an official said. “The home secretary’s factually incorrect remarks and no prime minister there had bothered us and stalled the progress, but now the formal talks will be revived,” the person told ET.

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