New Delhi: India and the European Union (EU) have agreed to accelerate the negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA), aiming to find common ground on all issues. In a meeting between India’s Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal, and the executive vice-president of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, both parties expressed the need to expedite the FTA negotiations. The meeting took place in Brussels during the first Ministerial meeting of the India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC), with senior officials from both sides in attendance.
The commerce ministry highlighted the importance of reaching convergence on all matters, taking into consideration mutual sensitivities, particularly regarding market access. The objective is to achieve balanced and meaningful outcomes that would benefit both economies and support employment. Additionally, both India and the EU affirmed their commitment to collaborating on shared priorities for reform within the World Trade Organization (WTO). This includes addressing issues related to dispute resolution mechanisms, subsidies in agriculture and fisheries, e-commerce moratoriums, and domestic legislation.
Recognizing the importance of their common objectives, both sides acknowledged the need to work towards consensus-based solutions. These solutions would not only support the livelihoods and food security of millions in India but also benefit large parts of the developing world. In line with this, a meeting of the Working Group-3 stakeholders, co-chaired by Goyal and Dombrovskis, was held. The group focuses on Trade, Investment, and Resilient Supply Chains. Stakeholders from India and the EU, including representatives from major European industrial bodies such as Business Europe, Digital Europe, Food Drinks Europe, and Copa-Cogeca, participated in the meeting.
Indian business leaders attending the meeting in person represented various sectors, including chemicals, metals, textiles, digital infrastructure, and steel. Representatives from other sectors, such as the agri-food industry and marine/logistics, were present in a virtual mode. The participation of stakeholders from both sides underscores the significance placed on advancing trade, investment, and supply chain resilience between India and the EU.
The decision to expedite FTA negotiations and enhance collaboration on WTO reforms demonstrates the shared commitment of India and the EU to strengthen economic ties and promote global trade. By fostering a closer partnership, both parties seek to unlock new opportunities, promote economic growth, and contribute to the prosperity of their respective nations. As negotiations progress and the consensus is reached, the potential benefits of an FTA between India and the EU are likely to extend beyond their borders, positively impacting businesses and individuals across diverse sectors and geographies.