India to start new $100bn trade pact with US, Australia, France, UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy

India has signed an agreement with the United States, Australia and France to expand their existing trade relationship, with the pact to become a $100 billion one.

India will begin the formal formal trade pact in the coming days with an eye to a formal trade deal in the next few months, the ministry of external affairs said in a statement.

India is already a major trade partner of the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands, and the pact is expected to boost bilateral trade by about a third.

India’s economy grew by an annualised 7.5% in 2016, but is still expected to shrink by 3.5%, according to a recent IMF report.

Trade in goods between India and the other five countries is worth $13.4 billion.

India has been negotiating a new trade pact for almost a decade and the Indian government has been reluctant to sign a new one until now.

India, along with the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Russia, is the world’s second-largest trading partner.