FTA: Early 2024 might witness the finalization of the UK and Oman FTA with India

  • January 9, 2024
  • News

India has been negotiating hard to complete crucial bilateral deals with key trading partners in 2023. However, experts believe the country could secure the FTA (Foreign Trade Agreement) with the UK and Oman in the initial months of 2024.

Authorities believe that by January 2024, India will be able to sign the deal with Oman as the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) is largely finalized. As for the UK-India FTA, the next round of talks is scheduled to happen in early 2024.

Ajay Sahai, DG & CEO of the Federation of Indian Export Organization stated that India is hopeful to sign agreements with Oman and the UK by April 2024. With the EU, which is a union of 28 countries, it will take a much longer time to move forward.

India has plans to sign an FTA with the UK, Oman and Canada but things didn’t pan out as anticipated with Canada due to diplomatic relations. On the UK part, things are relying on resolving issues around rules of origin and demand for tariff concession on electric vehicles and services.

Global Trade Research Initiative co-founder Ajay Srivastava emphasized that FTA is a mutual process between two countries, and the agreement signing depends on when both parties are completely satisfied with the terms and conditions. If India is not getting enough, then it should not sign and try to work around it as new and emerging issues like digital trade and sustainability are key aspects when discussing FTA talks. He further said that expanding the existing trade pacts with Australia and the US will help India in the long run in exploring and enhancing export competitiveness.

India’s export strategy to tap newer markets for Indian goods would be significant in arresting the effect of a demand slowdown across the globe. For April-November, merchandise exports were down 6.5% year-on-year at $278.8 billion, while imports contracted by 8.67% to $445.15 billion during the same period.