The European Union and India will agree to resume stalled free trade talks at a virtual summit on Saturday, according to a draft statement first seen by Reuters, as concerns over China’s rise bring Brussels and New Delhi closer.
The draft declaration, which is due to be signed by EU ambassadors on Wednesday and needs New Delhi approval, would tie together two of the world’s largest economies in an alliance seen as one against China.
If approved, the EU and India will say: “We agreed to resume negotiations for a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement that would respond to current challenges,” the draft statement said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with EU Chief Executive Ursula von der Leyen on Monday about the resumption of trade talks, which have been stalled since 2013. The couple will be joined by European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for virtual meeting. Michel will also speak with Modin ahead of Saturday’s summit.
A 2020 study by the European Parliament set the potential benefits of a trade deal with India for the EU at 8.5 billion euros ($ 10 billion), though that was before Britain left the bloc.
Britain will begin negotiations on its trade deal with India later this year, and Modi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a virtual meeting on Tuesday. Read more
India’s economic growth has overtaken China in recent years, making it an attractive market for Europe. The 27-nation bloc is India’s main export destination, accounting for about 15% of its foreign sales, according to EU data.
Although India has gradually reduced its tariffs since 1990, the EU still faces high taxes exporting crops, food, beverages and motor vehicles, areas seen as obstacles to a deal.
The talks were put on hold in 2013 as the two sides failed to overcome differences, such as over the extent of tariff cuts, patent protection, data security and the right of Indian professionals to work in Europe.
The draft declaration also lays the groundwork for an agreement for the EU and India to build joint infrastructure projects worldwide in the transport, energy and digital sectors.
The deal would follow a similar deal between the EU and Japan in 2019, seeking an alternative to Chinese birds that raised suspicions in the West and Tokyo.
“Our partnership will promote a transparent, practical, inclusive, sustainable, inclusive and rule-based relationship,” the summit draft said, in a covered critique of China-funded projects that have sent debt to several Asian countries. Central and the Balkans.
Since 2013, China has launched construction projects in more than 60 countries, known as the Belt and Roads Initiative, seeking a network of land and sea links with Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
The EU will also gain Indian support for its new plan to increase its influence in the Indo-Pacific region, using areas from health security to defend its interests and oppose China, although the bloc insists that its strategy its not against Beijing.
“We emphasized our commitment to a free, open, inclusive and Indo-Pacific space based on respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy and the rule of law,” the draft statement said.
Our standards: Principles of Trust of Thomson Reuters.
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