logo logo

Mandelson backs new EU-India trade and investment agreement

European Commission

Mandelson backs new EU-India trade and investment agreement

Helsinki, 12 October 2006

The EU Commissioner for Trade, Peter Mandelson, has today told Indian and EU Business leaders that EU and India should boost their bilateral trade and economic relationship with a new trade and investment agreement. Mandelson argued that an enhanced agreement with India would be an important part of the European Union’s Global Europe strategy for improving the global competitiveness of EU companies. Mandelson’s call follows the publication of a report of the EU-India High Level Trade Group setting out a compelling case for the benefits of an ambitious bilateral agreement on opening trade and investment to build on WTO rules and create new trade between the EU and India.

Commissioner Mandelson said: "We now have an important chance to develop the EU-India partnership through deeper trade and investment ties. Europe and India would both benefit from a ambitious bilateral agreement that lowered barriers and built on WTO rules. We are natural partners with complementary economies and lots of untapped trade and investment potential".

Global Europe meets India Inc

The EU-India Business Summit is a high-level event held in conjunction with the EU-India Political Summit which provides a unique opportunity to promote business interests among Indian and EU leaders. The Summit is organised by UNICE (Confederation of European Business) and the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK in cooperation with Indian business. A new development alongside the Business Summit this year is the launch of the EU-India CEO round table, which unites industry leaders from both the EU and India to discuss ways to bring EU and Indian businesses closer. Commissioner Mandelson participated in this launch and urged European and Indian business to provide input on trade and investment barriers.

Why a bilateral trade agreement with India?

India combines high growth and high potential with relatively high levels of protection against EU imports. A bilateral agreement would help us to focus on thorny non-tariff barrier issues and to go beyond WTO rules in areas of mutual interest. There is a huge amount of untapped potential in the EU-India trade relationship. EU exports to India are not negligible - about 25 billion euros in goods and services in 2005 - but it still accounts for less than 2% of EU exports: disproportionately low given its population and the size of its market. India is also potentially a huge market for EU investment - which is good for both sides. The EU invested €1.1bn in India in 2004, which represented 1.4% of total EU outflows, mainly in the energy, telecommunications and transport sectors. However, India still attracts far less EU foreign investment than China.

What would an agreement target?

To create new trade bilateral agreements have to be ambitious. An EU-India agreement would have to be deep and substantive: not just goods, but services, non-tariff barriers and rules on issues such as investment, competition and public procurement as well. We also need to improve the enforcement of rules on the protection of intellectual property rights. This is what both the EU and India are looking for.

Read Commissioner Mandelson’s Opening Statement at EU-India Business Summit

EU-India trade - facts and figures

EU-India bilateral trade and investment agreement - questions and answers

Read the report of the High Level Trade Group

 source: DG Trade