As India ramps up preparations for hosting the G20 summit in September, a free trade deal between it and United Kingdom appears imminent. The timing marks a quick turnaround on a deal that has been in negotiations only since January 2021.
The India-based Economic Times is reporting this week that the 12th round of negotiations between the two countries is entering its final phase, coinciding with the sub-continent chairing the G20 for the first time.
Trade officials are reported as saying they are “laser focused” on goods, services and investment in the deal. Estimates are bilateral trade between the two countries was worth about £36 billion (about $77bn) in 2022.
Expectations had been for an FTA between the two countries to be signed last year, but UK political turmoil disrupted plans.
Meanwhile New Zealand has acknowledged that it needs a new approach to relations with India, with a long-term relationship built on stronger mutual benefits likely to deliver greater returns than any a quick free trade agreement.
*Richard Rennie travelled to Delhi with the India-NZ Business Council trade delegation, with funding from Asia New Zealand Foundation and Zespri.