The Commerce Ministry, has held detailed discussions with senior officials of different departments and trade experts, on formulating standard operating procedures (SOPs) for negotiating free trade agreements (FTAs), an official said.

To discuss the various aspects of these agreements, the Commerce Ministry, has organised a two-day 'Chintan Shivir' on FTA strategy and SOPs for trade negotiations on May 16-17.

Suggestions that came up during the discussions, included comprehensive consultations with public and private sector players, and sharing details of the proposed FTAs with the line ministries, the official said.

"Consultations should be held at every stage of FTA negotiations. Representatives of certain ministries, suggested the Commerce Ministry, to share FTA details with them in a timely manner, so that they can prepare their views on those agreements," the official added.

The exercise assumes significance, as, India is engaging with several trade partners to negotiate free trade pacts.

Former Commerce secretaries, trade experts, and government officials from ministries, including finance, IT and electronics, and mines, participated in the deliberation.

In the Chintan Shivir, various issues were discussed, including India's trade strategy, and vision 2047; economic assessment and modelling of FTAs; inclusion of new disciplines into FTAs such as labour, environment, gender, and indigenous people; services and digital trade; and SOPs for FTA negotiations.

A separate session was also organised on leveraging India's FTAs, to address new forms/kinds of measures like CBAM (carbon border adjustment mechanism), supply chain disruptions, critical minerals, and artificial intelligence.

India, is negotiating trade pacts with the UK, the EU (European Union), Peru, and a comprehensive trade deal with Australia. It is also in talks with the Eurasian Economic Union, for a trade agreement.

India's goods and services exports in 2023-24 reached an all-time high of $778.2 billion, up 0.23 per cent from $776.4 billion in 2022-23.

The country, has inked trade pacts with Mauritius, the UAE, Australia and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), since 2021.