India to protect interests of farmers, dairy sector in free trade agreement with EU: Goyal
Rome: India will completely protect the interests of farmers and dairy sector in the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal has said.
He was here on an official visit to hold discussions with leaders and the private sector on ways to further enhance trade and investment ties between the countries. The minister also went to Paris for the India-France business summit.
Goyal said that Italy and France have offered unstinted support for the early conclusion of negotiations for the India-EU trade agreement.
During the meetings in Italy and France, he said, India has emphasised about the different economic conditions and per capita income in the two regions.
But the kind of business opportunities which India provides for EU businesses are huge and “nobody can provide those in the world”, he added.
“Keeping all this in mind, we would do the FTA… We will protect the interests of farmers and dairy sector… We have done that with UAE and Australia trade pacts also,” Goyal has said.
Chief negotiators of India and the European Union (EU) are scheduled to meet from June 19-23 in New Delhi for the fifth round of negotiations.
India and the 27-nation bloc resumed negotiations on June 17 last year after a gap of over eight years on the proposed agreements on trade, investments and Geographical Indications (GI). Top officials at the commerce secretary level would meet in August to review the progress of talks.
India had started negotiations for a trade pact with the EU in 2007 but the talks stalled in 2013 as both sides failed to reach an agreement on key issues, including customs duties on automobiles and spirits and the movement of professionals.
India’s merchandise exports to EU member countries stood at about USD 65 billion in 2021-22, while imports aggregated USD 51.4 billion.
A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory. Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
“India will not compromise on its interests… that is not possible,” Goyal has added.
On the European Union’s announcement of imposing carbon tax on certain sectors like metals, he said that the issue is part of the discussion.
India has earlier stated that it is concerned about the European Union’s announcement of imposing carbon tax, saying such measures require New Delhi to recalibrate its approach towards a free trade agreement.