NEW DELHI, India: The European Union and India have relaunched talks to implement a free trade agreement, aimed to be completed by the end of 2023.
"This partnership will become a defining moment for world trade in the 21st century," Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said during a news conference.
Due to a lack of progress, previous talks launched in 2007 were frozen in 2013, but in May 2021, EU and Indian leaders agreed to resume negotiations.
According to EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, the agreement would cover "essentially all trade," in line with World Trade Organisation standards, including sectors such as automotive and spirits.
"For the EU, the partnership with India is one of the most important relationships for the upcoming decade," he said.
The next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in New Delhi from 27th June to 1st July.
Separate discussions will also be held on agreements aimed at protecting investment and region-specific agri-food product names, such as champagne or feta cheese, known as geographical indications.
A free trade agreement with India would be in line with the EU's strategy to engage with the Indo-Pacific region, while India could use it as a counter-balance against China's growing influence in the region.
For its part, the EU will likely try to negotiate for lower tariffs on its cars, alcoholic drinks and agri-food products, such as cheese, therefore, gaining greater access to Indian markets.
India could also benefit with potentially easier visa access to the EU for Indian professionals, while the EU could include sustainable development objectives, such as on the environment and labour, in a potential deal.
India is the EU's tenth leading trading partner, while the EU is India's third largest trading partner.