Published: Sat, October 07, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

European Union urges India to finalize free trade pact at 14th annual summit

European Union urges India to finalize free trade pact at 14th annual summit

The leaders attached importance to the security, stability, connectivity and sustainable development of oceans and seas in the context of developing the "blue economy", said a joint statement during 14th India-EU Summit.

The EU is India's largest export destination and if talks do resume Britain could find itself battling it out with Brussels in another trade contest.

India reportedly imported goods worth €37.8 billion in 2016.

However Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, in his remarks to reporters at the end of the summit level talks stressed that "free and fair trade agreements were not only economically important" for common citizens' prosperity, "they strengthen and defend the rules-based worldwide order and our way of life".

"Today, we have reviewed the progress in implementation of the decisions taken at our last Summit, and the Agenda 2020 announced past year.", said PM Modi.

"As the world's largest democracies, we are natural partners".

The EU is India's largest regional trading partner with bilateral trade in goods at Dollars 88 billion in 2016. He repeated this statement during the India-EU Business Forum, and added that there will be a bilateral meeting soon at the level of the trade ministers to tackle the issue of the impasse.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that India received around United States dollars 83 billion of foreign direct investment from Europe during 2000-17, which constitutes approximately 24 per cent of total FDI inflows into the country during the period. Since the 13th Summit in Brussels previous year, our relationship has steadily gained momentum. However, they have repeatedly failed to reach an agreement on the deal, facing significant spats on such issues as intellectual property rights, and duty cuts in automobile and alcohol production.

"If India's standards of data protection are converging with that of the European Union, the European Union will be able to recognise adequacy of India's goods".

An EU spokesman said the summit should further advanced co-operation in research and innovation, by facilitating research opportunities and increasing research collaboration between the EU and India.

Talking about data protection, Juncker said "Indian companies providing IT services to many European companies, numerous services they provide involve exchange of personal data, the black gold of 21st century".

He also informed that India will cooperate with European Union in developing Smart Cities and upgrading urban infrastructure.

But India could play the European Union off with Britain in a bid to accelerate a trade deal which has become stagnant.

Speaking at the occasion, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said that 25 per cent of the foreign direct investment comes from European Union and there is potential for further growth.

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