Mr. Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal stated that India and the EU had decided to re-launch negotiations on the India – EU FTA – talks on which have been suspended since 2013. In addition, India and the EU will be negotiating separate agreements on Investment Protection and Geographical Indicators. The Prime Minister felt that that the proposed India – EU FTA would open up new areas of cooperation for India and the EU. The Prime Minister was addressing the India – EU Business Roundtable which was organised on a virtual platform by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in cooperation with BusinessEurope and CIP – Confederation of Portuguese Business.
He stated that the agreements on Trade and Investment Protection would be pursued on parallel track and the two sides would seek to conclude the same at an early date.
The Prime Minister pointed out that in the last decade alone, trade between India and the EU had risen 72% and investment flows have more than doubled. He observed that over 6000 European companies currently operate in India creating more than 1.7 million direct and 5 million indirect jobs. He stated that given the growing strategic partnership between India and the EU, it was the right time to pursue these agreements.
Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India said that India and the European Union are committed to work towards a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement and a separate investment protection agreement. He was of the view that both these agreements are going to lift our economic relationship to another level with enhanced bilateral flow of trade, investments, job creation, technology transfers and innovations.
While inviting European companies to invest in India, the Minster stated that Aatmanirbhar Bharat does not mean being protectionist and closing our doors to the world. On the contrary, India wishes to open its doors wider and warmly welcomes businesses from across the world to bring world class technologies to India, state-of-the-art products and services into India & investments in manufacturing, services & infrastructure, he added.
Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission highlighted that India and the EU had a Strategic Partnership and in furtherance of that partnership, the two sides had agreed to resume negotiations on the India – EU FTA. He highlighted that while the negotiations will not be easy, he was hopeful that the two sides could build on the headway made in the past. According to him, both India and EU feel that the FTA will help in the post-Covid economic recovery on both sides.
Mr T V Narendran, President-Designate, CII stated that there were immense opportunities for partnerships to co-develop and test new technologies in areas like Data Protection and Cyber Security, Digital infrastructure, 5G, Smart Factories, Artificial Intelligence, Fintech, Blockchain, IoT. He was of the view that India and the EU could also work on common and mutually acceptable standards related to cybersecurity, for example. He stated that that Indian industry considers the EU among India’s most important partners and we are ready to work together for our common progress and prosperity.
Mr Pierre Gattaz, President of BusinessEurope stated that there was a strong commitment from business and political leaders to take the India – EU relationship a step further, by concretely promoting further cooperation in areas such as climate change, healthcare and digital connectivity but, most importantly, by re-launching bilateral negotiations for a trade agreement.
Mr. António Saraiva, President, CIP stated that Europe and India need to work together to face the challenges of today and to build a brighter common future.
On the occasion of the Summit an MoU between Confederation of Portuguese Business (CIP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was signed in order to promote bilateral trade and closer cooperation between the India and Portugal.
9 May 2021