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Business News/ News / World/  India-UK free trade agreement: Diwali deadline no longer valid, negotiations still on
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India-UK free trade agreement: Diwali deadline no longer valid, negotiations still on

No longer working to Diwali deadline for India trade pact, says UK trade minister

Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss smiles before making a speech at the Conservative Party conference at the ICC in Birmingham, England, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (AP)Premium
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss smiles before making a speech at the Conservative Party conference at the ICC in Birmingham, England, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (AP)

The India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations are no longer aiming for a Diwali deadline, according to UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch. The goal is no longer to finalise a draft agreement by October 24 despite the fact that the negotiations are going well.

"We are close. We're still working on a deal. One of the things that has changed is that we are no longer working to the Diwali deadline," Badenoch told the BBC.

With the DIT previously only stating that the government won't compromise quality for speed, this is the first formal indication that both parties are no longer contemplating Diwali as the closing date for the majority of the agreement.

The Liz Truss government will obviously not sacrifice quality for expediency and will only sign when a deal that serves both nations' interests has been reached, a Truss spokesperson earlier told reporters.

Also Read: India-UK FTA by Diwali still remains a possibility: UK government sources

The cabinet minister in charge of the FTA negotiations at the Department for International Trade (DIT) stated that the deal being lined up with India would bring great wins for the industry as the steep tariffs of up to 150% are set to be lowered.

“We've closed a lot of chapters (the sections for the negotiating text). The negotiations are progressing well. But we want to focus on the quality of the deal rather than the speed of the deal. Given the changes that have taken place – not just in government but the mourning period (for the Queen) and so on, it makes sense for us to focus on the deal rather than the day," Badenoch said.

Also Read: Trade deal with India will encourage immigration, says ‘worried’ UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman

Badenoch’s statement comes after UK government sources claimed that the majority of the India-UK FTA negotiations should be done by Diwali.

Former UK PM Boris Johnson set the Diwali schedule on his visit to India in April, and it was widely anticipated that it would prove to be a tight deadline given the political turmoil that ensued in the UK.

Also Read: India-UK Free Trade Agreement likely to be sealed by Diwali: Piyush Goyal

The UK and India were working toward the FTA's Diwali deadline, according to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in September. August saw the conclusion of the fifth round of FTA talks between the two countries.

(With agency inputs)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 14 Oct 2022, 11:51 AM IST
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