India and the European Union resume negotiations on a free trade agreement; Goyal says the pact will help unleash significant untapped potential

Minister of Trade and Industry Piyush Goyal said the implementation of these pacts would help unleash significant untapped potential for strengthening economic ties between the two regions with India and the European Union (EU) by formally resuming negotiations on proposed trade and investment agreements. and geographical indications (GI).

India and the EU formally resumed negotiations on the proposed agreements on June 17th after a break of more than eight years.

The minister said they were here to resume negotiations on a fair, just and balanced free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and India.

“We have our teams … This will further strengthen our relationship. “Our bilateral trade has grown significantly over the last few months … There is significant untapped potential that we will hopefully unleash with the implementation of these three agreements – trade, investment and GI,” he told reporters here.

India began negotiations on a trade pact called the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with the 27-nation bloc in 2007, but talks stalled in 2013 as both sides failed to reach agreement on key issues. including customs duties on cars and spirits and the movement of professionals.

Asked about India’s key requirements, Goyal said India wants to engage with the world in modern products and look at areas where it can benefit from new technologies and investments.

“All the cards are on the table and we come with an open heart and an open mind … Agreements don’t always have to be for profit or demands, I think agreements have to be, too, which is good for both the negotiating teams and the people. “, he said.

He added that there was a time when India was “super sensitive” on issues such as gender and resilience, but in the last few years the country has shown the world “a very deep commitment to these issues”.

“We are looking at technology, looking for more funding and lower costs in the long run to move much faster from a sustainable country,” he added.

European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said both sides are pushing for an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement.

Asked about the EU’s basic requirements on cars, wine and sustainability, he said: “According to WTO (World Trade Organization) standards, these types of agreements must cover essentially all trade. There may be some specific exceptions. “In terms of sustainability, I will say that no modern agreement in the EU is possible without ambitious chapters on trade and sustainable development.”

These chapters usually cover issues related to employment, the wider environment, human and labor rights, he added.

“The next round of talks will take place from June 27 to July 1 in New Delhi. We are pursuing an ambitious schedule and are working to complete the negotiations by the end of 2023,” Dombrovskis said.

The EU and India are already major trading partners with annual trade volumes of € 120 billion. The EU is India’s third largest trading partner, accounting for almost 11% of India’s trade in 2021.

India is the EU’s 10th most important trading partner, accounting for just over 2% of EU trade in 2021. This relatively small share of total EU trade in goods shows great untapped potential, he added.

Exports of goods from India to EU member states amounted to about $ 65 billion in 2021-22, while imports amounted to $ 51.4 billion.

The GI is mainly an agricultural, natural or manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating in a specific geographical area.

Usually such a name provides a guarantee of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially due to the place of its origin.

Famous goods bearing this label include basmati rice, Darjeeling tea, Chanderi fabric, Mysore silk, Kulu scarf, Kangra tea, Tanjavur paintings, Allahabad marmot, Faruhabad prints, Laknau zardos and Kashmiri walnut carvings.

With PTI inputs

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