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Modi, EU leaders to revive FTA talks, launch connectivity partnership, strengthen Covid-19 cooperation

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on May 08, 2021

The two sides will also discuss investment protection, digital cooperation, GIs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders from the EU and the European Commission are expected to make important announcements such as reviving the stalled free trade agreement negotiations and investment protection pact, launching a `connectivity partnership’ and strengthening digital cooperation in areas such as Aritificial Intelligence when they meet for a virtual Leaders’ Meet later today.

To meet the Covid-19 challenge and put a check on rising infections and deaths, the two sides will also discuss global cooperation and solidarity to build a more resilient global health system, universal and equitable access to vaccines, resilience of pharmaceuticals supply chains and common objectives for WHO reform, according to EU officials.

A proposal for an international treaty on pandemics to help strengthen the World Health Organisation and improve preparedness will also be discussed.

Modi will meet European Council President Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and heads of the 27 EU member states at the event.

India is looking forward to re-launch of the India-EU FTA negotiation formally called the Broad-based Trade & Investment Agreement (BTIA), which was launched in 2007 but got stalled in 2013 due to differences in market access for sectors such as automobiles, wines & spirits, insurance and banking and movement of Indian workers to EU countries.

Many industry sectors such as textiles, leather and apparel want an FTA with EU countries as it would allow them access in the EU market duty free or at lower tariffs and help them compete with countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam that get preferential access.

EU is one of India’s largest trading and investment partners and bilateral trade has grown significantly over the last decade.

The EU and India will launch a `Connectivity Partnership’ to boost cooperation in full spectrum of connectivity issues including road, rail, air and digital connectivity, the EU official said. The aim will be to further the cooperation on transport, energy, digital and people-to-people contacts.

Published on May 08, 2021

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