India and the European Union will “intensify their engagement” to address the issues that are likely to emerge in implementing the trade bloc’s carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) measures.
Addressing the media after the first India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that both the sides will work together to find the “right solutions” since there is “long time” ahead of the implementation of CBAM.
“I'm sure that the intention is not to create a barrier to pay, but to find a way forward. So that sustainability is as much a part of our collective efforts to leave behind a better planet for the next generation. And we remain engaged, we are discussing the issue,” Goyal said.
India has been concerned about the impact of CBAM, which will result in the imposition of a levy on imported carbon-intensive products. India believes that such measures will result in a problem of market access with the EU’s trading partners, since it is an instance of dragging environmental issues into trade matters.
European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis put forth the trade bloc’s stance, stating that the EU has been “careful” to ensure compatibility of the carbon border measure with World Trade Organization norms and is therefore “non-discriminatory”.
He further said that both sides decided to deepen their engagement on carbon border measures via TTC.
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According to a joint statement after the first meeting of the council, the co-chairs under the TTC will meet again in early 2024 in India to take stock of the progress and decide on further actions.
India and EU had in April last year agreed to establish a Trade and Technology Council to tackle the challenges at the level of trade, trusted technology and security. Such a council is a first for India with any of its partners and the second for the EU, which set up the first with the US.
The ministerial meeting was co-chaired on the Indian side by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Goyal and Electronics and IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. The three working groups under the TTC cover key issues such as strategic technologies, digital governance and digital connectivity; green and clean energy technologies; and trade, investment and resilient value chains.
After the first meeting, both sides decided to undertake quantum and high-performance computing research and development projects that could address climate change, natural hazards, bio-informatics, bio-molecular research, and drug development. In addition, India and the EU will coordinate within the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence and explore bilateral cooperation on trustworthy and responsible artificial intelligence, including in research and innovation.
The two sides will coordinate their policies with regards to the strategic semiconductor sector, with the aim of concluding a pact by September. “Furthermore, India and the European Union will work towards bridging the digital skills gap, explore mutual recognition of certifications and make progress on the promotion of skilled professionals and exchange of talent. They will also enhance cooperation on IT and telecom standardisation with a particular focus on promoting interoperable standards,” the joint statement said.