India-EU talks on FTA to start on May 8

Thursday, 15 April 2021 12:01:48 (GMT+3)   |   Kolkata

India and the European Union (EU) will resume talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) on May 8 this year, after a hiatus of eight years, a government announcement said on Thursday, April 15.

The Indian government said that a virtual meeting was held between Portuguese foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva and Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman earlier this week and that it was decided to resume formal India-EU FTA talks at a leaders’ meeting of India and the EU on May 8.

The leaders’ meeting to be held in Porto, Portugal, will be a notable success for the Portuguese presidency of the EU, the Indian government said.

There were 16 rounds of EU-India talks on an FTA during 2007 and 2013, but no progress was possible with the EU insisting on import duty cuts on products like automobiles and wine.

The talks were subsequently put on the backburner in view of Brexit as the UK accounted for over 16 percent of Indian exports to the EU and, post-Brexit India and the UK were following their own negotiations for a separate India-UK trade agreement.

However, following its pulling out of joining the China-dominated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), India is pushing to strike trade partnership agreements with other countries, a government official said.

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