EU and India reaffirm commitment to FTA progress

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The EU and India have reaffirmed their commitment to establishing a new free trade agreement during a recent summit.

The EU and India have confirmed they will be aiming to resume their progress on talks towards a new free trade agreement (FTA).

During a recent summit in New Delhi, regional leaders came together to mark 55 years of diplomatic relations between the world's two largest democracies, and to outline new areas on which the regions can strengthen their ongoing partnership.

Establishing closer economic ties in the areas of trade and investment was highlighted as a key priority, with efforts to set up a new bilateral trade and investment agreement having been ongoing since 2007, although progress has stalled in recent years.

As such, both sides have pledged to re-engage actively towards a timely relaunch of the negotiations for a comprehensive and mutually beneficial FTA, while also affirming their shared commitment to the value of free, fair and open trade as a key means of achieving sustainable growth and development on an international basis.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said: "It is high time for an FTA between India and the EU. Once the circumstances are right - and only once the circumstances are right - we will resume.

"Today's summit is an important step in the right direction and, after hearing Prime Minister Modi, I am confident we can move forward. Our chief negotiators will next sit down in November to chart a way forward."

The EU is currently India's largest trading partner, while India is the EU's ninth-largest partner. Trade in bilateral goods and services between the regions came to more than €100 billion in 2016, showing the significant opportunity that a new FTA could provide.

New joint measures on combating terrorism, partnering on clean energy and climate change, and driving sustainable urbanization were also adopted during the New Delhi summit.