The Bilateral Investment Treaty, which is being negotiated as a separate agreement and is expected to be signed along with the FTA, has also seen substantial progress.
As the next round of negotiations for a free trade agreement with the UK is scheduled, India has sought inclusion of social security in the discussions, an official said Tuesday.
The social security pact, if it gets included in the discussions and becomes part of the FTA, will allow temporary Indian workers in the UK to claim social security benefits from contributions made during their period of stay.
At present temporary workers in the UK who stay beyond a year have to make contributions to social security. When they return after a brief stay there is no mechanism for them to get their contribution back or derive any benefit out of it.
Both countries have concluded 13 rounds of talks on the FTA but the closing of positions on key issues of rules of origin, tariffs on automobiles and whiskey, greater liberalisation of services trade and visa issues still remain.
The virtual sessions are still on but we are planning a full-fledged round of talks, the official added.
He said that negotiators are not working with a deadline for concluding the talks and are willing to give time for reaching a deal that is in best interest of both sides.
On intellectual property issues, agreement is within reach. The Bilateral Investment Treaty, which is being negotiated as a separate agreement and is expected to be signed along with the FTA, has also seen substantial progress.
The proposed FTA between the two countries, negotiations for which were started in January of 2022 covers 26 chapters or policy areas. “Majority of chapters are closed or are in advanced stages of negotiations,”
The UK is the 7th biggest market for Indian exports taking in $ 11.4 billion worth of goods last financial year. In the same period imports from the UK totalled $8.4 billion.