India and the European Union (EU) on Tuesday discussed the need to expedite the ongoing trade deal negotiations by finding convergence on all issues on the sidelines of the first ministerial meeting of the India-European Union Trade and Technology Council meeting in Brussels.
Both sides sought to give “due consideration to mutual sensitivities, including on market access for balanced and meaningful outcomes” that would support the economies and employment on both sides, commerce and industry ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. The matter was discussed between commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, and executive vice president of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis.
India and the EU had in April last year agreed to establish a “Trade and Technology Council”, to tackle the challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security. Such a council is the first for India with any of its partners and second for the EU, following the first one it has set up with the US.
The ministerial meeting was co-chaired on the Indian side by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and Communications, Electronics and IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
While the first ministerial aims to lay the road map for the cooperation under all the three working groups set up under the council, there will also be discussions over thorny issues such as the EU’s decision to rollout the controversial Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which will result in imposition of a levy on imported carbon-intensive products.
New Delhi will also attempt to understand the trade bloc’s concern over imposition of import duties on IT products, a month after the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling against India. Bilateral talks between both sides and a possible solution on the issue can put a pause on the escalation of trade tensions.
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The working groups cover key issues such as strategic technologies, digital governance and digital connectivity; green and clean energy technologies; and trade, investment and resilient value chains.
During the bilateral meeting between Goyal and Dombrovskis, both sides decided to work together on common priorities for WTO-related issues.
“Both sides recognised the need for consensus-based solutions including Permanent Solution on Public Stock Holding that would support the livelihoods and food security for millions in India as well as in large parts of the developing world. They expressed hope that their joint efforts would enable finding meaningful solutions in the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference,” an official statement said.