They also launched EU-India negotiations on an investment protection agreement and on an agreement on geographical indications. A first round of negotiations covering the three areas of work will be hosted by India in New Delhi from 27 June to 1 July 2022. The two sides agreed to fast-track the talks with the aim of concluding them by the end of 2023.
Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “Today’s formal resumption of talks towards an EU-India Free Trade Agreement opens up a new chapter in our bilateral relations. Combined with the launch of talks on agreements for investment protection and geographical indications, we are sending a strong signal of our mutual ambition to deepen our relationship, based on shared values. For the EU, the partnership with India is one of our most important relationships for the upcoming decade.”
The overall objective of the negotiations will be to maximise the considerable – yet largely untapped – trade and investment potential between the EU and India. The EU and India are already major trading partners, with an annual trade of 120 billion Euros. The EU is India’s 3rd largest trade partner, accounting for almost 11% of Indian 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 overall EU trade in goods points to a large untapped potential. Liberalising trade and investment will therefore generate significant opportunities for growth, also in areas going beyond trade in goods, notably services and digital trade, intellectual property and public procurement.
As is the case in all EU trade agreements, the future arrangement will also include ambitious and enforceable provisions on trade and sustainable development, helping us to reach our climate goals under the European Green Deal, and promote high environmental and labour standards in the EU and India.
The Investment Protection Agreement will significantly increase the level of confidence among investors on both sides, thereby leading to further increases in foreign direct investment in both directions.
The EU and India share similar values in protecting their geographical indications. The Geographical Indications Agreement, once concluded, will support rural communities and help preserve the cultural and culinary heritage of both sides. It will also assure simplified access to the quality products for consumers on both sides and promote the geographical indications globally.
The EU and India are also working together in parallel to address respective market access issues. Moreover, the EU looks forward to continuing cooperating with India in multilateral matters, building on the successful WTO 12th Ministerial Conference that has just concluded.
The relaunch of EU-India bilateral negotiations was decided by the EU-India Leaders’ Meeting held on 8 May 2021. The EU and India had first launched negotiations for a free trade agreement in 2007, before the talks were suspended in 2013 due to a gap in ambition.
As per the EU’s usual practice, the EU’s text proposals will be made publicly available after the first negotiating round to make the negotiations as transparent as possible.
The EU is India's 3rd largest trading partner, accounting for €88 billion worth of trade in goods in 2021 or 10.8% of total Indian trade. India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 2.1% of EU total trade in goods in 2021. Trade in services between the EU and India reached €30.4 billion in 2020. The EU's share in foreign investment stock in India reached €87.3 billion in 2020, up from €63.7 billion in 2017, making the EU a leading foreign investor in India.
In parallel to these negotiations, both sides are also working to define the objectives, scope and format for the EU-India Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, agreed to launch this Council at their meeting in New Delhi on 25 May 2022.
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EU-India Leaders’ Meeting, 8 May 2021
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