The Commerce Ministry said on Saturday that India and the European Union have completed the first round of talks for a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) on Friday and the next round of talks is to be held in Brussels in September.
India and the 27-nation bloc resumed talks on June 17 after a gap of more than eight years on proposed agreements on trade, investment and geographical indications (GIs). The first round of talks began on 27 June and concluded on 1 July.
India’s FTA talks were led by Chief Negotiator Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce and the European Union was represented by its Chief Negotiator Christoph Keener, the ministry said in a statement.
The week-long talks went on in a hybrid fashion – some teams met in Delhi and most officials were virtually involved.
During the first round, 52 technical sessions covering 18 policy areas of the FTA and seven sessions on Investment Protection and GI were conducted.
India’s bilateral trade with the European Union stood at $116.36 billion in 2021-22.
Currently, the European Union is India’s second largest trading partner after the US, and the second largest destination for Indian exports.
“The trade agreement with the European Union will help India expand and diversify its exports of goods and services, including moving up the value chain,” the ministry said. “Both sides aim to make trade negotiations broad-based, balanced and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity,” it said.