New Delhi: The inaugural India-EU Trade and Technology Council meeting in Brussels saw both sides hold in-depth discussions on a range of issues including semiconductors, high performance computing, digital public infrastructures, clean energy technologies and supply chain resilience.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar jointly co–chaired the first Ministerial meeting of the India–EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) on May 16 in Brussels.
The meeting was co–chaired on the European side by Executive Vice Presidents (EVP), Valdis Dombrovskis and Margrethe Vestager. The Ministers also had several official and business engagements during their stay in Brussels.
On May 15, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal held a bilateral meeting with Executive Vice President Dombrovskis. During the meeting, both sides took stock of the ongoing negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement, Investment Protection Agreement and Agreement on Geographical Indications and provided guidance to the respective teams to enable early conclusion of the agreements.
Both sides also discussed cooperation in multilateral platforms including in WTO and agreed to work towards a successful WTO Ministerial Conference. Goyal also laid out India’s position on the EU’s proposed Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and sought the EU’s cooperation to address issues and concerns that may arise during the implementation of CBAM, a statement said.
In the context of the Working Group 3, on trade, investment and resilient value chains of the TTC, Minister Goyal along with EVP Dombrovskis chaired a stakeholders meeting in hybrid format. A CII delegation participated from the Indian side. He also had an interaction with the members of Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB) and highlighted the opportunities for European businesses in India and encouraged them to invest in India. Separately, MOS Chandrasekhar met with senior officials of Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) Belgium to discuss support from the institute on advancing the India Semiconductor Mission.
The three Ministers jointly met Belgian PM Alexander De Croo. The meeting saw extensive discussions on various issues, including India’s ongoing Presidency of G20, the upcoming Belgium Presidency of the Council of European Union, progress in the India-EU FTA negotiations and other regional and global issues of bilateral interest.
The three Ministers jointly met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and had comprehensive discussions on India–EU bilateral issues covering trade, economy, security, and strategic issues. They agreed to make the TTC a platform to guide the relationship to face new geopolitical challenges and de-risk the global economy. They discussed the need to work together for successful conclusion of India’s G-20 Presidency, the statement added.
On May 16, the three ministers along with EVP Vestager jointly co-chaired a stakeholder interaction on Technology and Clean Energy industry which had participation from leading businesses of India and Europe in this domain including C-DOT, NPCI, Nokia, Infineon, NXP, Tata Consultancy Services and NASSCOM.
The three Ministers held a working luncheon meeting with Josep Borrell, High Representative and Vice President (HRVP) of the European Commission. They discussed the importance of the India–EU Strategic Partnership in the evolving global situation. EAM also held comprehensive discussions with Borrell on global, regional and strategic issues.
Goyal met with Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Markets where e–commerce related policies and Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform of India was discussed.
The three Ministers co–chaired the first Ministerial meeting of the India–EU TTC meeting. The India-EU TTC was set up pursuant to a decision taken in the meeting between PM Narendra Modi and President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen in April 2022.
The TTC aims to provide political leadership and ensure strategic focus in the partnership. It will enable both sides to respond to contemporary developments, encourage resilient and reliable supply chains and promote digital trust and transparency. The Ministers reviewed the progress in the three Working Groups of TTC and provided guidance on their future course.
In the TTC meeting, both sides had in-depth discussions on a range of issues including semiconductors, high performance computing, digital public infrastructures, clean energy technologies and supply chain resilience. The Ministers also exchanged views on strategic issues of significance like economic security and promoting connectivity projects in third geographies, including agreeing to identify projects for joint implementation.
Both sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the TTC in India at an early date, it said.
Josep Borrell in tweets said on the meeting with the Indian ministerial team:
“Ahead of the EU-India TTC Ministerial, it was an honour to host
@DrSJaishankar @PiushGoyal @Rajeev_GoI for substantial & frank discussions on foreign policy priorities, our geostrategic environment, @G20 & our joint interest to explore potential for untapped EU-India cooperation.
“Pleased to welcome @DrSJaishankar in the margins of the 1st EU-India #TTC Ministerial today
“We discussed on India’s @G20 presidency, Ukraine’s peace initiative, the expanding security & defence pillar of our bilateral cooperation, and regional matters in the Indo-Pacific.”
European Executive Vice President Dombrovskis in tweets on the meeting said:
“EU & India are currently negotiating deals on:
These agreements will drive our shared ambition.
Our new #EUIndia #TTC will complement & strengthen these agreements.”
“EU-India #TTC will focus on a number of trade & investment priorities in the coming year:
-Resilient value chains
-Improved market access
-Foreign Direct Investment screening
-Global trade issues.”
The EU in a statement said: “The TTC is a key forum to deepen the strategic partnership on trade and technology between the two partners. Geostrategic challenges have reinforced the EU and India’s common interest in ensuring security, prosperity and sustainable development based on shared values. The TTC will help increase EU-India bilateral trade, which is at historical highs, with €120 billion worth of goods traded in 2022. In 2022, €17 billion of digital products and services were traded.”
The EU is India’s 2nd largest trading partner, accounting for €120 billion worth of trade in goods in 2022 or 10.8% of total Indian trade. India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 2% of EU total trade in goods. Trade in services between the EU and India reached €40 billion in 2021.
This first Ministerial Meeting follows the launch on 6 February 2023 and the announcement by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, on 25 April 2022 in New Delhi.