Sun. Jun 26th, 2022
Brussels, 16 June 2022

Restarting trade and investment talks between EU and India are welcome but EU norms need to be protected in the final deal, says a draft report adopted on Thursday.

The draft, adopted by 31 votes, with two votes against and four abstentions, sets out what the Committee on International Trade expects from the relaunch of trade talks with India. The committee welcomes the expected restart of negotiations between EU and India on a trade agreement, a stand-alone investment protection agreement and an agreement on geographical indications, it states.

Keep up the values

While there is “untapped potential for stronger, deeper and mutually beneficial economic cooperation” between the EU and its strategic partner, this should happen only as long as European values and standards are respected, including pluralism, the rule of law, good governance, equality, respect for human, labour and women’s rights. A future trade deal should also be in alignment with the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork strategy and the Paris Agreement, insist MEPs.

Grant more market access

During the talks on a trade agreement, trade MEPs expect swift solutions to long-standing market access problems for EU companies in various sectors, such as cars, car parts, agriculture, pharmaceuticals. They encourage India to eliminate existing technical barriers including various certification requirements for medical devices, toys, drinks, food and steel. India should prohibit discriminatory “Buy national” policies that discourage imports.

While the draft report acknowledges that agriculture, which accounts for 41 percent of employment in India, is a sensitive issue, it states that “greater market access for agricultural products should not result in giving either party an unfair competitive advantage”. The draft report adds the EU should support India to help its farmers reduce the use of pesticides.

Trade MEPs call for specific chapters aimed at easing access for small and medium sized enterprises, protecting intellectual property rights and enshrining and enforcing trade and sustainable development criteria.

India’s hesitancy over Ukraine

The draft report expresses MEPs regret about India’s hesitancy to condemn the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine. It nevertheless asks for the cooperation of the EU and India to address the repercussions on food security caused by the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine.

Quote

With this report, we are sending a positive signal to the negotiating table: The EU urgently needs to conclude new trade and investment agreements. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to strengthen our open strategic autonomy by diversifying our supply lines if we want to secure our prosperity and create additional jobs. We cannot afford to ignore huge emerging economies like India as we explore new opportunities for our businesses around the world, said Rapporteur Geert Bourgeois(ECR, BE).

Next steps

The draft report goes for a debate and vote before the full House in July. The Trade Committee will be following the steps of the negotiations. Once the negotiators reach an agreement, it will also require Parliament’s consent before it can enter into force.

Background

The EU is India’s third-largest trading partner and leading foreign investor, while India is the EU’s ninth-largest trading partner and only accounted for less than 2.1 percent of its total trade in goods in 2021. EU-India trade increased by more than 70 % between 2009 and 2019.

Leaders of the EU and India agreed in 2021 to relaunch trade talks originally started in 2007 but frozen since 2013.

A delegation of trade MEPs visited India between 11 and 14 April this year.

Source – European Parliament

 


ECR Group: India should be a key trading partner

ECR MEP Geert Bourgeois spoke enthusiastically after his Initiative Report that calls on the EU to improve and deepen the strategic relationship with India was adopted by the Committee on International Trade with an overwhelming majority.

“We are sending a positive signal to the negotiating table: The EU urgently needs to conclude new trade and investment agreements. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to strengthen our open strategic autonomy by diversifying our supply lines if we want to secure our prosperity and create additional jobs”, Mr Bourgeois said.

“We cannot afford to ignore huge emerging economies like India as we explore new opportunities for our businesses around the world”, he addded.

Today’s vote marks a broad majority in favour of the Commission’s current negotiating mandate in plenary. Europarliamentarians are already setting the course for negotiations with India on three separate agreements starting at the end of this month.

Source – ECR Group