India, EU to commence FTA negotiations, EU expects progress over trade irritants

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India and the European Union will commence the negotiations adhering to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) post a break of eight years. The talks were stopped after 2013 and resuming the same will be a key deliverable of India-EU summit as scheduled for May 8 in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have meeting for the first time with 27 member states altogether.
PM Modi will connect with the meeting via video conferencing and the meeting was scheduled virtually considering the worsening situation of Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting which will be for a duration of 2 hours which will also be attended by Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa. The meeting opens up the opportunity for revival of the momentum to the multi-faceted India-EU relationship,
In conversation with ANI, EU official sources stated the talks were put on hold in 2013 and after that talks are going on and off however “it is only now that we are seeing positive momentum in our relations that we can say that we are actually resuming the talks formally.”
One of the sources stated, “This is part of the package that will comprise of talks towards an agreement regarding geographical indications and also investment protection agreement which will Europeanize the arrangement that India has with individual member states so far.”
Another official added, “I can confirm that talks that we are resuming with India will be comprehensive. These will cover all areas of trade. We are not looking at an early harvest. We are looking at full and ambitious and very comprehensive set of negotiations.”
“We believe that in the current atmosphere of the very positive momentum, we can make progress on these longstanding irritants we are all very much aware of. We are talking about resumption of negotiations. Of course the existing issues will be there but we are confident that the new momentum between our two new regions will pave the way for positive result of these negotiations. We, of course, very much welcome this.”
The India-EU leaders meeting will be the very first meeting having the EU+27 format and is a mirror to the shared ambition of both sides towards further strengthening the India-EU Strategic Partnership.

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