After 8 years, India and European Union to resume free trade pact talks

After eight years, India and the European Union are set to resume negotiations for an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement. An announcement on the formal resumption is expected to be made at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top leadership of the 27-nation grouping on Saturday.

Official sources in the EU also said the free trade agreement package will include an investment protection pact as well as a framework on geographical indication.

Launched in June 2007, the FTA talks between India and the EU hit a roadblock in May 2013 when the two sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including tariff, data security status for the IT sector and market access.

India and the EU will agree to resume the negotiations at the virtual summit between Prime Minister Modi and top leadership of the bloc, sources said Thursday.

The two sides are also likely to announce a connectivity partnership at the summit that is aimed at boosting cooperation in sectors like railway, maritime and aviation as well as in the digital domain to bring people of the two sides closer to each other, sources said.

Prime Minister Modi was scheduled to visit Portugal for the India-EU summit but it was called off because of the coronavirus crisis. Both sides then decided to hold the deliberations virtually.

A strategically important grouping for India, the EU as a whole was country’s largest trading partner in 2018. India’s bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at $15.6 billion with exports valued at $57.17 billion and imports worth $58.42 billion.



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