India hopeful of working with EU towards FTA, says Goyal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 07, 2020

India can be the trusted partner to move away from single-source supply chains: Commerce and Industry Minister

India is hopeful of working with the European Union towards a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), possibly starting with a Preferential Trade Agreement, for an early harvest to get faster outcomes, said Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday.

“We believe we have to work towards balanced, ambitious and mutually beneficial trade and investment agreements. During the 15th India-EU summit in July 2020, we had adopted the EU-India Strategic Partnership, which will guide our cooperation in the future,” Goyal said at the Diplomatic & Industry Leadership Session on EU-India Collaborative Economic Growth.

India and Europe have been working together to combat the Covid-19 crisis, whether it is for adequate supply of medicines to different European countries or other goods required to battle the pandemic, the Minister said. Through the lockdown, India’s information technology sector continued to serve businesses in Europe, without any interruption.

“We met all our international obligations and, therefore, India is looked upon as a trusted partner of the EU. India can be the trusted partner to move away from single-source supply chains and countries can work in partnership with India for robust and sustainable global supply chains. During the pandemic, India never let down any of our friends,” he added.

The EU is India’s largest trading partner block, with about $105-billion trade in goods in 2019, and is also the second-largest destination for Indian exports, the Minister observed, adding that removing barriers to trade between Europe and India was essential to move forward.

India and the EU have been working on a bilateral trade agreement for more than a decade but disagreements over key issues, including market access for automobiles and wines and spirits, and more visas for professionals, have proved to be major hurdles.

Published on October 07, 2020

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