India and the European Union concluded the first round of talks for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) on Friday and the next round of talks is scheduled at Brussels in September, the commerce ministry said on Saturday.
India and the 27-nation bloc resumed negotiations on June 17, after a gap of over eight years, on the proposed agreements on trade, investments and Geographical Indications (GI). The first round of talks, which began on June 27, concluded on July 1.
India’s FTA negotiations were led by Chief Negotiator Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce and the EU was represented by its Chief Negotiator Christophe Kiener, the ministry said in a statement.
The week-long negotiations were held in a hybrid fashion – with some of the teams meeting in Delhi and the majority of officials joining virtually.
During the first round, 52 technical sessions covering 18 policy areas of FTA and seven sessions on investment protection and GIs were held, it added.
India’s bilateral trade with the EU amounted to USD 116.36 billion in 2021-22.
Currently, the EU is India’s 2nd largest trading partner after the US, and the second largest destination for Indian exports.
“The trade agreement with the EU would help India further expand and diversify its exports of goods and services, including securing the value chains. Both sides are aiming for the trade negotiations to be broad-based, balanced, and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity,” it added.