London: UK is "working intensely" with India to achieve the Free Trade Agreements soon, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
This comes after Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had said the UK is keen to stick to the Diwali deadline for free trade agreements. "We have signed Free Trade Agreements with Australia and New Zealand - and we are working intensely to agree one with India soon", the foreign secretary Cleverly said.
In a keynote speech at the 9th Annual Milken Asia Summit, while setting out the UK's continued commitment in the Indo-Pacific region, the UK foreign secretary noted, "We were the first European country to secure a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India. And we intend to be the first European country to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It will give the region access to the UK's world-class financial services sector as well as, as well as the world's sixth largest economy. That's why engagement between the UK and Indo-Pacific needs to cover the broadest spectrum of activity."
Earlier, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had said the UK is keen to stick to the Diwali deadline for India-UK free trade agreement and both countries are working towards it.
He referred to the passing away of Queen Elizabeth II and said "as we are expanding our engagements, the UK is at a cusp". "I received a letter from the UK again reiterating that they want to stick to the Diwali deadline (for the India-UK Free Trade Agreement)," Goyal had said at an event in New Delhi.
Speaking of India's engagements and the quest to become self-reliant, Goyal said, "If we don't engage with the international market, we are the losers...Today the whole world is talking of Atmanirbhar...There is no power that can stop us from becoming a developed nation in the next 25 years...The world wants to engage with us, the world has more confidence in us than we have."
British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis had also said that India and the United Kingdom have the high ambition of completing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by Diwali this year. He had said that the agreement will increase employment and bring economic development to India over the next 25 years.
"Both, India and UK need to grow because we have great ambitions from both prime ministers. FTA is one of the best ways we can support the growth and development of India's economy and India's employment over the next 25 years. Now is the time to write a new chapter in our history as partners and support each other in our growth," the UK High Commissioner told ANI on the sidelines of an event held in New Delhi.
On being asked, if it could be a "Diwali Dhamaka", the UK High Commissioner nodded, saying, "I hope so."
"I think we have high ambition on completing the FTA by Diwali. The FTA will create more jobs, more growth, and more opportunities for India to grow and develop," he added.
The two countries concluded the fifth round of talks for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last month.