EU and India agree on stronger trade cooperation
At the EU-India leaders’ meeting on 8 May 2021, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met virtually with EU Commission and Council Presidents, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, as well as the leaders of all 27 member states. They discussed bilateral cooperation in various areas, including trade, digitalisation, environment, security and health.
With a volume of 110 billion euros in 2019, trade between India and the EU is immensely important for both economies. The EU and India therefore agreed to extend their trade cooperation. They decided to resume the negotiations on a free trade agreement that had been suspended in 2013 and to launch negotiations on an investment protection agreement. To create a positive momentum for the negotiations, both partners also agreed to work on quick solutions for long-standing market access issues. A joint working group will be created to enhance regulatory cooperation on goods and services in the field of green and digital technologies. These initiatives will be carried out under the EU-India High Level Dialogue on Trade and Investment, which has been held twice already this year.
A major result of the leaders’ meeting is also the launch of a comprehensive Connectivity Partnership based on sustainability and a level-playing field for companies. The Connectivity Partnership aims to facilitate private investments in digital, energy, transport and people-to-people connectivity. It emphasises the importance of international standards to ensure mutual market access.
Another key area of cooperation is the digital transformation. Indo-European initiatives in this field include a joint task force on Artificial Intelligence, cooperation on international digital standards, network security, data protection as well as on Quantum and High-Performance Computing. A High-Level EU-India Digital Investment Forum is planned for later this year.
In addition to a stronger economic cooperation, India and the EU announced plans to work together on international security, environmental protection and on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce the risks of future health emergencies, they plan to enhance the resilience of medical supply chains and to ensure the safety and quality of products through international manufacturing standards.
Read more about the outcomes of the EU-India leaders’ meeting 2021 here.