India, EU looking at comprehensive FTA, no early harvest

By: |
May 07, 2021 3:00 AM

The previous EU-India summit was held in July 2020, via video conference, with EU and India adopting a joint statement, a five-year roadmap for the EU-India strategic partnership and a joint declaration on resource efficiency and circular economy.

The other key agenda of the summit are reforms in the UN, G-20, and WTO, green and digital transitions, operationalisation of a joint task force on artificial intelligence and a partnership on connectivity.The other key agenda of the summit are reforms in the UN, G-20, and WTO, green and digital transitions, operationalisation of a joint task force on artificial intelligence and a partnership on connectivity.

India and the European Union (EU) are set to revive the much-procrastinated talks on a comprehensive free trade agreement after a hiatus of 6 years as the two partners seek to deepen economic ties and cooperation in battling Covid 19, strengthening connectivity and securing a rules-based Indo-Pacific at the India-EU leaders’ Meeting on 8 May.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the EU-India virtual summit in Porto on Saturday which will be attended by leaders of all the 27 member countries of the EU, Charles Michel, President of the European Council and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

The previous EU-India summit was held in July 2020, via video conference, with EU and India adopting a joint statement, a five-year roadmap for the EU-India strategic partnership and a joint declaration on resource efficiency and circular economy.

The positive momentum in ties between India and the EU which is the largest trading partner of India and one of its largest sources of FDI has led to a wide expectation of the leaders endorsing the launch of negotiations towards an FTA on trade, investment promotion and geographical indications. India and EU talks on FTA were suspended in 2013 amid disagreements over tariff rules for car parts and free-movement rights for professionals.

Officials of the EU said on Thursday that the India-EU relationship has developed positively in recent years, giving optimism that the differences in trade negotiations would be ironed out to pave way for a conclusive end to discussions on the FTA. “The talks will cover all areas of trade and we are not looking at an early harvest. We are looking at a full, ambitious and comprehensive set of negotiations,” an EU official said.

The other key agenda of the summit are reforms in the UN, G-20, and WTO, green and digital transitions, operationalisation of a joint task force on artificial intelligence and a partnership on connectivity.

The India-EU meet comes amidst expanding India-EU cooperation as the 27- member bloc steps up medical aid to help India battle a dangerous surge in Covid-19 cases, oxygen shortages and rising fatalities. The European Commission has announced a €2.2 million in emergency funding to respond to the drastic surge in Covid-19 cases in India and member states have already mobilised supplies of urgently needed oxygen, ventilators and medicines from Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden to India over the last week via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

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