The external affairs ministry said that India and the European Union (EU) agreed on Saturday to improve their bilateral trade and investment relationship by resuming negotiations for a balanced, positive, comprehensive, and mutually beneficial trade agreement, which had been suspended for eight years. The two sides have agreed to begin talks on two main pacts, one on investment security and the other on geographical indications.
These decisions were made during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the heads of state or government of all 27 European Union member states, with the aim of increasing overall trade, investment, and communication cooperation. The decision to restart trade negotiations, which were halted in 2013 due to disagreements on key issues such as market access and professional mobility, was announced in a joint statement released at the EU-India virtual summit in Porto. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, representatives of all 27 EU member countries, Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, all attended the summit.
Modi also urged the European Union to back the vaccine patent waiver. The EU leaders have expressed their support for India in the midst of the current crisis brought about by an increase in Covid 19 cases and deaths. As part of the deal, India and the EU will work together to resolve long-standing market access problems and begin talks on a separate investment security agreement. Both parties agreed to form a joint working group to improve regulatory coordination on goods and services, including but not limited to green and emerging technologies. This will be complemented by an agreement to form a joint working group on resilient supply chains, based on the Covid-19 pandemic's experience.
India and the EU agreed to establish an EU-India senior officials' dialogue to deepen bilateral cooperation on WTO issues, under the supervision of the High-Level Dialogue on Trade and Investment, to further improve global economic governance coordination, especially in the WTO and the G20. Another significant outcome was the announcement of a long-term and extensive ‘Connectivity Partnership' between India and the EU, which will facilitate rule-based connectivity on a level playing field for economic operators.