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India, UK for early conclusion of free trade pact

Deliberations encompassed collaborations to secure inclusive growth and resilience, advancing climate action and forging partnerships through technology and infrastructure partnership

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NEW DELHI, Sept 11: India and the UK on Monday expressed their commitment to an early conclusion of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

Addressing a joint press conference with UK Chancellor of Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said both sides intend to expedite the free trade agreement.

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“There is definitely some discussion on the FTA, especially the investment aspects, which comes under the finance ministry, and the intention on both the sides to expedite the discussion so that some quick agreement could lead to finally signing,” she said at the conclusion of the 12th India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue.

So, the keenness on both sides is to conclude the comprehensive free trade agreement between India and the UK as soon as possible, she said.

Talking about the meeting, she said the deliberations encompassed collaborations to secure inclusive growth and resilience, advancing climate action and forging partnerships through technology and infrastructure partnership.

The UK has expressed its willingness to further expand its footprint in the IFSC-Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) and foster robust Fintech partnership, the minister said.

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Sitharaman also said the success of the UK-India Green Growth Equity Fund is a testament to the efficacy of public-private partnerships in channelling large-scale sustainable finance.

Both countries announced the launch of the UK India Infrastructure Financing Bridge, a collaborative venture co-led by the Niti Aayog and City of London Corporation to harness collective expertise in planning and implementing major infrastructure projects.

The minister said emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and India’s new Digital Personal Data Protection Act offer ample opportunities for both nations to collaborate on frameworks for secure and inclusive financial intermediation.

Post-meeting, the UK Chancellor of Exchequer appreciated the efforts being made for the direct listing of Indian companies on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

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“We are particularly pleased to have made a big step forward with the first confirmation by India that it will explore the LSE as an international destination for the direct listing of Indian companies.

“Alongside that, there is a new Pensions and Insurance Partnership, the establishment of knowledge and expertise-sharing, and the new UK Infrastructure Financing Bridge and a deepened partnership on the developmental GIFT City. So, we can really support each other’s plans to strengthen the relationship and the way the next step of this is a comprehensive FTA and Bilateral Investment Treaty,” Hunt said.

Hunt also appreciated the successful conclusion of the G20 Summit under India’s presidency. (PTI)

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