Live Mint - 19 April 2022
European Commission President to visit India next week
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen’s two-day visit starting on April 24 will see discussions around key issues including the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Ukraine war, a statement released by the Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan said on Tuesday.
India and the 27-member bloc are set to restart negotiations on a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) in June.
“She will highlight the vast potential of the EU India strategic partnership and offer the EU perspective over current geopolitical challenges. EU-India broad economic agenda, with a focus on the free trade agreement, Investment Protection agreement and Geographical Indications agreement will also be on the agenda," the statement read.
President Ursula von der Leyen will be meeting the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind and hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, the energy and digital transition, connectivity, security and defence, and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific will be at the centre of her conversations in Delhi, as per the statement.
The India-EU FTA talks — or the Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement as it is officially called — started in 2007, but were put on hold in 2014 following differences over sensitive non-trade issues such as environment and labour standards.
Last year, India and the EU announced their decision to resume negotiations for a balanced and comprehensive trade agreement. It was also decided to launch negotiations on two other key agreements on investment protection and geographical indications.
In the last decade, EU India trade in goods has increased by 41% and trade in services has jumped by 76%. EU-India trade in goods and services in 2020 stood at €96 billion. Notably, the EU is one of the largest investors in India accounting for 16% of total investments received between 2015-20 (Euro 83 billion in 2000-2021).
During the visit, the President will visit The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) campus known as TERI Gram, where she will interact with the youth on the existential challenge of climate change. She is also set to deliver an address at the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and discuss with Indian and EU companies on the security of supply chains in the energy sector.