Brussels: 1st Meeting Between India-EU Trade, Technology Council Scheduled Next Week

An official statement on Sunday said that the inaugural ministerial-level meeting of the India-European Union Commerce and Technology Council (TTC) would take place on May 16 in Brussels and focus on measures to advance collaboration in strategic technologies, digital connectivity, sustainable energy, commerce, and investments.

Piyush Goyal, the minister of trade and industry, is one of the co-chairs, along with S Jaishankar, the minister of external affairs, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the union minister of state for electronics and information technology. Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs) Dombrovskis and Vestager co-chair the EU side.

According to the statement, the Working Group on Strategic Technologies, Digital Governance, and Digital Connectivity, the Working Group on Green and Clean Energy Technologies, and the Working Group on Trade, Investment and Resilient Value Chains will all submit reports outlining roadmaps for future cooperation between the two parties.

“The first ministerial meeting will lay the roadmap for the cooperation under all three working groups and provide direction to achieve desired outcomes before the next ministerial meeting in the coming year,” it added.

Various topics would be discussed during the high-level meetings with senior leadership of the European Union and Belgium, including the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, resolving issues of reciprocal market access, and WTO reforms.

The Department of Commerce is in charge of the working group on trade, investment, and resilient value chains. Sunil Barthwal, the secretary of commerce, and Sabine Weyand, the director general for trade, from each side, co-chaired the group’s first meeting.

In order to address strategic issues at the intersection of trade, dependable technology, and security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, announced the formation of the TTC in New Delhi in April 2022.

According to the government, Mr. Goyal will meet with EVP Dombrovskis in person on May 15 after which there will be stakeholder meetings in front of business leaders from both sides.

He will also take part in a conference where the economic impact of Belgian companies in India and future investment plans in India would be discussed.

The prime minister of Belgium and the head of the European Commission would also be visited by the three Indian ministers.

Mr. Goyal will go to the working groups 1 and 2 stakeholder gathering on May 16. Group 1 is concerned with connectivity and digital governance, whereas Group 2 is concerned with clean and green energy technology.

He will also discuss issues relating to the SME sector, the startup ecosystem, and e-commerce in a private discussion with Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Trade.

India and the EU had begun trade talks in 2007, but they came to a halt in 2013 because neither side could agree on critical points, such as customs tariffs on alcohol and vehicles and the free movement of professionals.

In 2021–22, India’s merchandise exports to EU members were around USD 65 billion, while its total imports were USD 51.4 billion.

The total exports in 2022–23 were USD 67 billion, while the total imports in the previous fiscal year were USD 54.4 billion. The EU accounts for a 16.4 percent share in India’s exports and about an 8.3 percent share in imports in the last financial year.