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fta: India, UK actively discussing business mobility in FTA; talks now in final stages

UK business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch on Thursday said India and Britain are “actively” discussing business mobility under the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) and the negotiations are now in the final stages but insisted that it is hard to set a timeline for its conclusion as “the hardest bits of any negotiation tend to come towards the end”.

On the sidelines of G20 trade and investment ministers meeting, she also said overall visa liberalisation issues do not fall in the ambit of trade pacts and these are immigration issues. Indian industry has sought easy access for domestic professionals.

“We have closed many chapters… perhaps the simpler tasks. We are now in the final stages (of FTA negotiations), I can’t give a deadline. Anything can happen,” she said.

Earlier in the day, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the ongoing FTA negotiations are progressing “extremely well” and expected to conclude at an early date.

He said both sides are confident that they will come out with a “very” balanced, equitable and fair agreement in the interest of businesses and people of both the countries.

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