India and EU resume FTA
India and the European Union have agreed to resume talks for a balanced, ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement and also launch negotiations for a stand-alone investment protection pact, the External Affairs Ministry said. These decisions were taken during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the heads of state or government of all the 27-member states of the bloc with a focus on expanding overall cooperation in areas of trade, investment and connectivity.
- The two sides also launched a sustainable and comprehensive connectivity partnership the ministry said and described the summit as a "watershed" moment in the ties.
- The leaders also exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare cooperation.
- The India-EU leaders' meeting is hosted by Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa. Portugal currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
- Modi was scheduled to visit Portugal for the leaders' meeting but it was called off in view of the coronavirus crisis and both sides decided to hold the deliberations virtually.
- A strategically important grouping, the EU as a whole was India's largest trading partner in 2018.
- India's bilateral trade with the EU in 2018-19 stood at USD 115.6 billion with exports valued at USD 57.17 billion and imports worth USD 58.42 billion.
- In the 15th India-EU summit in July last year, Prime Minister Modi had pitched for bringing out an "action-oriented" agenda to further expand ties between the two sides.