NEW DELHI – India is ready to resume negotiations with the European Union over the long-pending Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), the commerce ministry said Tuesday.
Following 16 rounds of failed talks since 2007, negotiations over the free trade pact were suspended in 2013.
“In a meeting of the Chief Negotiators held today in New Delhi, India expressed desire to resume the free trade agreement, India-EU BTIA, as soon as possible,” the Indian Department of Commerce tweeted.
The meeting comes just over a month after President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk, made an official visit to New Delhi.
Juncker had then said negotiations will resume only under conducive circumstances.
The key points of difference include EU’s desire to export automobiles and spirits, wine and dairy products at low tariff as well as protect its intellectual property regime in the Indian market.
India, however, has expressed concern over its large automobile sector and others that could be affected by this, with New Delhi also wanting agreements in visa-related matters and other areas.
The EU is India’s main trading partner and accounted for 13.5 percent of the country’s total trade with the world in 2015-16, well ahead of China (10.8 percent), the US (9.3 percent), UAE (7.7 percent) and Saudi Arabia (4.3 percent).
India accounted for 2.2 percent of EU’s overall trade with the world, importing goods worth 37.8 billion euros ($44.3 billion) in 2016.
The total trade between the EU and India last year had amounted to 77 billion euros.