No time frame to conclude BTIA; India, EU will take discussions forward: MEA

There is no set time frame for the conclusion of the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) but India and the European Union (EU) have to take the discussions forward, said Vikas Swarup, Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (West), said on Wednesday. “There is no time frame set for the conclusion of the BTIA but both sides have agreed that the two ministers mandated to take the discussions forward should meet as early as possible,” Swarup said at a media briefing on the 15th India-EU summit.

He said, “The leaders on both sides affirmed their strong interest and full commitment to develop the India-EU strategic partnership to new depths. They adopted the strategic partnership roadmap to 2025 as the new framework to upgrade the relationships in diverse fields, foreign policy, security, trade and investment, economic collaboration, cooperation on innovative and climate-friendly solutions, digital technologies and connectivity of the broad-based trade and investment agreement.” The leaders recognised that post-COVID economic recoveries offer opportunities to unleash the full potential for their economic ties including discussion on supply chain linkages between India and Europe, Swarup said.

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He also said that the Prime Minister has invited European companies for FDI in India taking into account efforts to improve ease of doing business, regulatory environment and the aim to integrate India with ongoing supply chains. Speaking on the discussions held in the 15th India-EU Summit, the MEA Secretary said, “The 15th India-EU summit has just concluded. Our relationship with the EU is active covers all dynamics underpinned by strong people to people ties. The EU is our largest trading partners of goods with trade exceeding USD 100 billion. We also have a large services trade of approx USD 40 billion. The EU is one of the largest investors in India with a cumulative investment of over USD 91 billion. The EU is also an important source for technology innovation and best practices.”

Swarup said that the summit was held in a very cordial atmosphere marked by mutual respect. “The discussions covered the joint response to the pandemic, strengthening India-EU strategic partnership and its various dimensions as well as our convergences and our collaborations on the global arena covering multilateralism, international organisations and contemporary developments,” he said. He also informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the EU’s global coronavirus initiative for accelerating access to COVID-19 tools, vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.

“Recognising each other’s strengths and mutual synergies such as our roles in pharmaceuticals and research the EU and India agreed to intensify cooperation and response to the coronavirus including on accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 tools. Both European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen greatly appreciated the timely assistance provided by India in terms of providing medicines to EU countries,” he said. “They sought India’s active engagement in the initiative of universal and affordable vaccines for all,” Swarup further said.

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