India-U.K. FTA Talks: Good Progress On Rules Of Origin, Bilateral Investment Treaty

So far 12 rounds of talks are completed and the 13th round will start from Sept. 18.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Source: @RishiSunak/X)&nbsp;</p></div>
(Source: @RishiSunak/X) 

The talks on the proposed free trade agreement between India and the U.K. are moving and there is "good progress" on issues such as rules of origin and bilateral investment treaty (BIT), a senior official said on Friday.

These were few of the issues where there were differences between the two sides.

"Many things are moving very fast. Like rules of origin and bilateral investment treaty, there is a good progress. Negotiations are happening... Towards the end of the deal, it is the difficult issues which are to be closed and therefore it requires more time and more deliberations," Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal told reporters.

He said that mobility is also one of the subjects which is being negotiated.

The "rules of origin" provision prescribe that minimal processing should happen in the FTA country so that the final manufactured product may be referred as goods originating in that country.

Under this provision, a country that has inked an FTA with India cannot dump goods from some third country in the Indian market by just putting a label on it. It has to undertake a prescribed value addition in that product to export to India. Rules of origin norms help contain dumping of goods.

Investment treaty is being negotiated as a separate agreement between India and the U.K.

These investment treaties help in promoting and protecting investments in each other's country. The main point of contention involved in this pact is about the mechanism for the settlement of disputes.

So far 12 rounds of talks are completed and the 13th round will start from Sept. 18.

On the India-EU (European Union) trade pact, the ministry said that so far 5 round of talks are concluded and the sixth round will take place during Oct. 16 to 20 in Brussels.

The two regions are also discussing EU's carbon tax issue in the Trade and Technology Council (TTC).

On the progress of talks on India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), an official said that "significant" progress is there on issues like government procurement, rules of origin, sports, innovation, labour, environment, and traditional knowledge.

The official said that the 6th round of talks are expected to conclude soon and the next round will start from next month.

Further, the ministry said that legal scrubbing is in the process of supply chain resilience agreement under the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF).

The process for domestic approval of this agreement is also underway. The Indian team is in Thailand for discussions on clean economy and fair economy agreements of the IPEF.

The secretary also informed that the ministry will be organising a regulatory dialogue in November.

Experts from both domestic and international organisations would participate in that.

The ministry is in touch with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and FSSAI for the meet.

Regulatory bodies from G20 countries will be called for this dialogue. The meeting would assume significance as regulatory issues like standards, certification, inspection of testing labs have implications on exports.