India was expected to conclude free trade agreements with the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union before this year-end, Union Minister Anupriya Patel said here on Tuesday.
The Minister of State in Commerce and Industry said the country’s trade was “passing through a watershed moment” as it clocked USD 675 billion on exports while merchandise exports accounted for USD 419 billion last year.
“We (The Ministry) are also in process of negotiations on the signing of free trade agreements with the United Kingdom, Canada, and Russia and they may be concluded before the end of the year,” she said.
Patel was speaking at the Stakeholder’s Outreach Programme organised by Directorate General of Foreign Trade on the occasion of India signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with the United Arab Emirates and the Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) with Australia.
Noting that exports are vital for the growth of a country, she said India concluded the agreement with Australia in just 88 days and it was one of the fastest-ever agreement signed. “It is a very comprehensive agreement,” she said.
She pointed out that the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement was already “operationalised” and there was huge scope in terms of employment generation.
“Besides employment generation, these agreements will also lead to increase in remittances following the increase in the Indian diaspora (in the two countries),” she said.