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India-UK free trade agreement to be signed once it exits the European Union in 2 years Time

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New Delhi, March 28, 2017: With Britain set to launch the formal process of its exit from the EU on Wednesday, a prominent British entrepreneur has said that a joint working group of officials from both countries is working on an India-UK free trade agreement to be signed once it exits the EU in two years time.

“One of the very important steps forward of Theresa May’s (India) visit last November was that we now have a government-to-government working group with the Commerce Secretary and the International Trade Secretary in charge that is looking at the totality of the relationship,” Patricia Hewitt, Chair UK-India Business Council, told BTVi in an interview.

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“What I found since the referendum is the great enthusiasm on the part of India’s political and business leaders as well as Britain’s political and business leaders, for…it may be a free trade agreement…perhaps more accurately a comprehensive economic partnership. This was discussed further during Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s very successful visit to London recently,” she said.

“And the aim there is not only to identify things that both governments could act on immediately even before Brexit actually happens, but also to lay the groundwork for a more formal agreement..a bilateral agreement that could happen once the UK actually leaves the European Union,” she added.

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 – the step that starts the process of negotiations for Britain’s formal exit from the EU – on Wednesday.

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There is consequent uncertainty over what will happen once Britain leaves the EU because it needs to make new trade agreements with the rest of the world.

Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced this joint working group last year following talks here with UK’s then Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox after Britain voted in a referendum to exit the EU.

Sitharaman said formal talks on a bilateral free trade agreement could only begin once the UK formally exited the EU.

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $14 billion in 2015-16, as compared to $14.33 billion in 2014-15. (IANS)

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Plastic Free Delhi through “Plogging”, Promised EU And India

Swedish fitness trend to clean delhi

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Plastic Free Delhi through
Plastic Free Delhi through "Plogging" Promised EU And India, Pixabay

Indian and EU runners jogged around India Gate and kept picking up litter around the iconic monument to make a pledge for a clean and plastic free Delhi by “plogging” — a Swedish fitness trend that combines running with collecting garbage.

The event on Friday was organised by the Embassy of Sweden here and a group of ploggers of India together with the European Union ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5.

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Joggers also love to run on plastic-free roads. Pixabay

It was part of the European Union’s series of environmental programmes in India.

The EU delegation and missions of European Union member states in New Delhi with the support of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change co-hosted a Conference on Plastic Pollution and Management – Sharing Best Practices at Vigyan Bhawan on Friday.

The theme of the conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries was in line with this year’s theme – ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.

The EU ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski congratulated India for its leadership in dealing with environmental issues globally. “India is a key partner of the EU with partnerships on clean energy and climate change, water, smart and sustainable urbanization, air quality and resource efficiency,” said by Kozlowski.

Runners collecting garbage
Runners collecting garbage, Pixabay

Taking the cooperation to the next level, the Ambassador said, EU Commissioner for Environment would lead a delegation of about 50 EU businesses to India in September as part of the CII Sustainability Summit.

Also read:Green coffee weight loss regime

On June 5, the EU delegation and the embassies of the EU member states are expected to announce and adopt a “green pledge” aimed at reducing increased pollution levels by eliminating the use of single-use plastic products, saving energy through bio-gas and other technologies which India has also used previously, water resources and managing waste, managing increased greenhouse gases (CFCs, Carbondi-oxide, nitrogen etc.) and industrial pollution. (IANS)