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India-UK free trade talks are progressing, claims British trade minister

India-UK free trade talks are progressing, claims British trade minister

London: Britain's Trade Policy Minister Greg Hands said the free trade agreement talks between India and the UK are "progressing well." After the Diwali deadline was abandoned, he said a deal that works for both nations is more important than when it is signed.

UK's Chief Negotiator of the FTA Harjinder Kang on Tuesday said that the Department for International Trade (DIT) was committed to building on the Enhanced Trade Partnership between India and the UK. He added that Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch is continuing regular dialogue with India's Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to build a "warmer and productive" relationship. He further said the focus is on the quality and how it serves the citizens of both nations.

Until now, five rounds of formal negotiations have been completed.

Trade Secretary Badenoch took charge at DIT last month and recently confirmed that the timeline announced by former UK PM Boris Johnson has been abandoned. Home Secretary Suella Braverman's controversial remarks over expected visa concessions had recently put the deal in doubt. "Naturally, there is an economic imperative for our countries to work together, which is why we are so eager to secure a trade deal," she said yesterday. Some see it as an attempt to avoid taking the blame for the delay.

Braverman added that the contribution of the Indian diaspora to British life is enormous. "Our villages, towns, and cities have been profoundly enriched by immigration from India. There are many people of Indian heritage in prominent positions in politics, business, the arts, the police, the armed forces, civil service, and sport. It is further proof that this is a country at peace with itself and genuinely meritocratic and welcoming," she said at a Diwali celebration.

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