India will launch negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with one region next week, Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday. He said negotiations were underway with countries including the UK, European Union, Canada and Israel.
“Next week we will launch another very important free trade agreement,” Goyal said during a meeting on consumer electronics. Although the minister did not reveal the name of the region, talks are likely to start with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as the region wanted to increase its economic engagement with India.
The GCC is a union of six countries in the Gulf region: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. India has already set up a free trade pact with the United Arab Emirates in May this year. In a free trade agreement, two countries or regions significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on a maximum number of goods traded between them.
In addition, they are also relaxing standards to promote trade and investment. Goyal said the world sees huge opportunities in India and that is the reason for increased engagement with India. He also said the country’s economy could hit $30 trillion by 2047 and if things work “a little better” it could hit $49 trillion.