India, EU resume negotiations for FTA after 9 years

Published : 18 Jun 2022 08:08 PM

India and the European Union have resumed negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) after a gap of nine years.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Executive Vice-President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis officially re-launched the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Friday. Accoeding to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, negotiations on a stand-alone Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) and a Geographical Indicators (GIs) Agreement were also launched.

The first round of negotiations for all the three agreements will be held from June 27 to July 1 in New Delhi.

Last year, during the India-EU Leaders' Meeting in Porto on May 8, an agreement was made to resume discussions for a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive, and mutually beneficial FTA, as well as to begin fresh negotiations on the IPA and a separate GIs agreement, the ministry said.

FTA negotiations were halted in 2013 due to differences in the scope and expectations of the agreement.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's visit to Delhi in April 2022, as well as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent trip to Europe, have advanced FTA discussions and helped define a clear strategy for the discussions, the ministry pointed out.

Because the EU is India's second-largest economic partner after the United States, this would be one of the most significant FTAs.

The India-EU merchandise trade has registered an all-time high value of USD 116.36 Billion in 2021-22 with a year-on growth of 43.5%. India’s export to the EU jumped 57% in FY 2021-22 to $65 billion. India has a surplus trade with EU.

Given that both stakeholders share similar fundamental values and interests, as well as being two of the world's largest open market economies, the trade agreement will help to diversify and secure supply chains, increase economic opportunities for our businesses, and provide significant benefits to people, said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Earlier this year, India had concluded FTAs with Australia and the UAE in a record time. The FTA talks with Canada and the UK are also underway.

The FTA negotiations are part of India’s broader strategy to forge balanced trade agreements with key economies and revamp existing trade pacts to improve trade and investment, said the ministry.