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    HomeWorldInsufficient Data on India-UK FTA Discussions Criticized by British Parliamentary Committee

    Insufficient Data on India-UK FTA Discussions Criticized by British Parliamentary Committee

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    The House of Commons International Trade Committee has criticized the lack of information provided by the UK government about the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India. The committee, which will be dissolved next week to make way for a new Business and Trade Committee, said it often learned more from reports in the Indian media than from the UK government. The UK and India are negotiating an FTA to enhance their bilateral trading relationship, and the eighth round of negotiations concluded in New Delhi last month. The next round is expected in the coming weeks.

    The committee’s report, entitled ‘UK trade negotiations: Agreement with India’, welcomed the decision not to set any new deadline for the deal after former prime minister Boris Johnson’s “widely trailed deadline to get a deal with India done by Diwali” last year. One issue highlighted in the report is the need to reconcile the UK government’s wish to see India’s patent laws tightened to benefit UK drug companies with the need to maintain the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) access to cheap generic drugs produced in India.

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    The Committee also noted possible implications from the deal for standards and checks regarding the quality and safety of goods, including food products and medicines. Its report suggested attaching conditions to any trade liberalisation in the deal, such as requiring India to implement UN and International Labour Organisation human rights conventions and to show that goods meet environmental sustainability and animal welfare requirements.

    The committee’s analysis of the UK-India talks is being placed on record by member MPs for both the government and the successor Business and Trade Committee to implement.

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