Ahead of the G20 Foreign Ministers Meet, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday (local time) met with the European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Bali, Indonesia where they discussed the fallouts of the Ukraine conflict along with acknowledging progress in other bilateral engagements including Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar wrote, “Good meeting with EU Vice-President Joseph Borrell. Discussed the Ukraine conflict and its impact on the global situation. Recognized the progress in our bilateral engagement, including FTA negotiations. Agreed to remain in touch.”

The first round of negotiations for India-EU Trade and Investment Agreements has concluded and the second round of talks is scheduled to take place in Brussels in September this year, a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry read.

India’s FTA negotiations were led by Chief Negotiator Nidhi Mani Tripathi, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce and EU was represented by its Chief Negotiator, Christophe Kiener.

“The week-long negotiations were held in a hybrid fashion – with some of the teams meeting in Delhi and the majority of officials joining virtually hybrid fashion. During this Round 52 technical Sessions covering 18 policy areas of FTA and 7 Sessions on Investment Protection and GIs were held,” the statement read further.

The second round of negotiations is scheduled to take place in September 2022 at Brussels.

According to the ministry, the negotiations were launched by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and the European Commission Executive Vice-president and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis at Brussels last month.

India’s bilateral trade with the EU amounted to USD 116.36 billion in 2021-22. Despite the global disruptions, bilateral trade achieved impressive annual growth of 43.5 per cent in 2021-22.

Ar present, the EU is India’s second-largest trading partner after the US and the second-largest destination for Indian exports. The trade agreement with the EU would help India in further expanding and diversifying its exports of goods and services, including securing the value chains. Both sides are aiming for the trade negotiations to be broad-based, balanced, and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity, it added.

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