India, EU trade pact to help unleash significant untapped potential: Goyal


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

India and the EU formally resumed negotiations on the proposed agreements on June 17, after a hiatus of more than eight years. Goyal said they were here to relaunch negotiations for a fair, equitable and balanced free trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and India.

“We have our teams in place… It will further strengthen our relationships. Our bilateral trade has grown significantly in recent months… There is significant untapped potential that we hope to unleash with the implementation of these three agreements – trade, investment and GIs,” he told reporters here.

India had started negotiations on a trade pact called the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) with the economic bloc of 27 countries in 2007, but talks stalled in 2013 as the two sides were unable to agree on key issues, including customs matters. . excise duties on cars and spirits, and the movement of professionals. Asked about the main demands from the Indian side, Goyal said India wants to communicate with the world about modern products and look at areas where it can win in new technology and investment.

“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 about profit or demands, I think agreements should also be what is good for both negotiating teams and the people,” he said. .

He added that there was a time when India was “super sensitive” to issues of gender and sustainability, but in recent years the country has shown the world “very deep commitment to these topics.” “We’re looking at technology, we’re looking at greater long-term, low-cost financing to move to the sustainable side much faster,” he added.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, said both sides are committed to an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement.

When asked about the EU’s key requirements on cars, wines and sustainability, he said: “Under WTO (World Trade Organization) standards, these types of agreements should essentially cover all trade. There may be some specific exceptions. .. On sustainability, I will say that no modern agreement in the EU is possible without ambitious chapters on trade and sustainable development.” These chapters typically address issues related to employment, the wider environment, human and labor rights, he added.

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

The EU and India are already important trading partners, with annual trade worth €120 billion. The EU is India’s third largest trading partner, accounting for nearly 11 percent of India’s trade in 2021. India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for just over 2 percent of EU trade in 2021. relatively small share of total EU trade in goods indicates great untapped potential, he added.

India’s exports of goods to EU Member States amounted to approximately USD 65 billion in 2021-22, while imports totaled USD 51.4 billion. A geographical indication is primarily an agricultural, natural or manufactured product (handicraft and industrial goods) originating in a particular geographical area.

Such a name usually conveys a guarantee of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially due to the place of origin.

The famous goods that bear this label include Basmati rice, Darjeeling tea, Chanderi fabric, Mysore silk, Kullu scarf, Kangra tea, Thanjavur paintings, Allahabad Surkha, Farrukhabad prints, Lucknow zardozi and Kashmir – walnut carvings.

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