India-EU trade, technology council first meeting at Brussels on May 16

New Delhi,: The first ministerial level meeting of India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will be held on May 16 in Brussels to discuss ways to increase cooperation in strategic technologies, digital connectivity, clean energy, trade and investments, an official statement said on Sunday.

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal is one of the co-chairs along with external affairs minister S Jaishankar and Union minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the commerce ministry said in a statement.

The EU side is co-chaired by Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs) Dombrovskis and Vestager.

The ministry said that the three Working Groups under the mechanism will report on roadmaps for future cooperation between the two sides– Working Group on Strategic Technologies; Digital Governance and Digital Connectivity; Working Group on Green and Clean Energy Technologies; and Working Group on Trade, Investment and Resilient Value Chains.

“The first ministerial meeting will lay the roadmap for the cooperation under all three working groups and provide direction to achieve desired outcomes before the next ministerial meeting in the coming year,” it said.

During the high-level meetings with senior leadership of the European Union as well as Belgium various issues of mutual interest including the ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), addressing issues of mutual market access, World Trade Organisation (WTO) reforms as well as cooperation in several areas of mutual interests would be discussed.

The working group on trade, investment and resilient value chains is steered by the Department of Commerce and the first meeting of the working group was co-chaired by commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal and Sabine Weyand, Director General for Trade, from respective sides.

TTC was announced by PM Modi, EU President: The formation of the TTC was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission in New Delhi, in April 2022 with the objective of creating a high-level coordination platform to tackle strategic challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security.

As per the ministry, on May 15, Goyal will have a bilateral meeting with EVP Dombrovskis followed by Working Group-3 Stakeholder consultations in the presence of business leaders from both EU and India. “The WG3 meeting focuses on Trade, Technology and Resilient supply chains and would have 6 business leaders from EU and India,” it said.

In the afternoon, the Minister will attend a business event organised by the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium (FEB) and deliver the keynote address. “This meeting would involve a discussion over the economic footprint of Belgium enterprises in India along with further plans of investments in India,” he said.

He would also participate in a meeting which would involve a discussion over the economic footprint of Belgium enterprises in India along with further plans of investments in India.

Besides, the three Indian ministers would also call on the Belgian prime minister as well as the president of the European Commission.

On May 16, Goyal would attend a stakeholder event for working groups 1 and 2. Group 1 focusses on digital governance and connectivity while Group 2 deals with clean and green energy technologies. “This event will also have about eight business leaders from each side in attendance who will present their views/ suggestions,” the ministry said.

Goyal will deliver a Special Address at this event. This meeting will also see the participation of EAM and EVP Vestager.

Later in the day, Minister Goyal will attend a bilateral meeting with European Commissioner for Internal Trade, Thierry Breton wherein issues pertaining to the SME sector, start-up ecosystem and e-commerce will be deliberated upon.

This would be followed by the first ministerial meeting of the India-EU TTC which will be attended by the External Affairs Minister, the Minister for Commerce and Industry and the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology.