NEW DELHI: India and the European Union have discussed holding regular interactions for re-initiation of bilateral trade and investment agreements, with an interim agreement to start with, the government said on Saturday.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal and the European Union Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis had the first High-Level Dialogue (HLD) on Friday wherein they also agreed to meet within the next three months, with an objective for reaching consensus on a host of bilateral trade and investment cooperation issues.
These include a bilateral Regulatory Dialogue and an India-EU Multilateral Dialogue to explore further possibilities of cooperation.
“In a significant step forward, regular interactions for re-initiation of bilateral trade and investment agreements, with an interim agreement, to start with, were also discussed,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.
Negotiations for a broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) started in 2007 and were suspended in 2013.
The BTIA talks collapsed over certain EU demands such as greater market access for automobiles, wines and spirits, and further opening up of India’s financial services sector such as banking, insurance and e-commerce.
ET reported last month that keen to accelerate investments, technology and capital flows from the EU, India wants the investment and trade deals to happen parallelly and independently.
At the 15th India-EU Leader’s Summit in July 2020 the two sides agreed to explore the possibility of renewing the BTIA talks and also decided to establish the HLD.
“The ministers emphasised the importance of global cooperation and solidarity in a post Covid-19 era and agreed for further deepening of bilateral trade and investment relationship through a series of regular engagements, aiming at quick deliverable for the businesses in these tough times,” the ministry said.
India’s exports to the EU in April-October were $20.5 billion, led by organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, mineral fuels, gems and jewellery, leather products and apparel, while imports were $17.9 billion. Nuclear reactors, electrical machinery and optical/photographic apparatus were the major import.