India-EU Trade and Technology Council Holds First Ministerial Meeting to Boost Cooperation in Strategic Technologies and Trade

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India and the European Union (EU) are set to hold their first ministerial-level meeting of the India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) on May 16 in Brussels. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and enhance cooperation in strategic technologies, digital connectivity, clean energy, trade, and investments. The meeting will be co-chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, and Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

The TTC is comprised of three working groups focusing on strategic technologies, digital governance and connectivity, green and clean energy technologies, and trade, investment, and resilient value chains. These groups will present roadmaps for future cooperation and set the direction for achieving desired outcomes. The EU side will be co-chaired by Executive Vice Presidents Dombrovskis and Vestager.

Several key issues will be discussed during the high-level meetings, including ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), mutual market access, and reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The establishment of the TTC was announced in April 2022 with the aim of creating a platform for high-level coordination to address trade, trusted technology, and security challenges.

Prior to the ministerial meeting, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal will have bilateral meetings with EVP Dombrovskis and stakeholder consultations with business leaders from both sides. He will also participate in a stakeholder event for the working groups focusing on digital governance and connectivity, as well as clean and green energy technologies.

India and the EU began negotiations for a trade pact in 2007 but encountered obstacles in 2013. The talks stalled due to disagreements on issues such as customs duties on automobiles and spirits, and the movement of professionals. In recent years, India’s exports to EU member countries have been around $65 billion, while imports have amounted to $51.4 billion.

The ministerial meeting marks an important step in strengthening India-EU economic ties and fostering collaboration in crucial areas such as technology, clean energy, and trade. It presents an opportunity to address existing challenges and explore new avenues for cooperation between India and the EU.

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