India-EU trade, technology council first ministerial meeting in Brussels on Tuesday

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New Delhi, May 14: The first ministerial meeting of the India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is taking place in Brussels, Belgium, on May 16 (Tuesday).

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal is one of the co-chairs along with External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar, informed the government through a release on Sunday. The EU side is co-chaired by European Commission Executive Vice-Presidents Dombrovskis and Vestager. The formation of the TTC was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ursula von der Leyen, President, 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.

On May 15, 2023 (Monday), Minister 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 World Group III (WG3) meeting focuses on Trade, Technology and Resilient supply chains and would have six business leaders from EU and India, according to the statement from the ministry of commerce and industry. 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 the 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 Tuesday, Minister Goyal will attend a stakeholder event for Working Groups I and II. Group I focuses on digital governance and connectivity while Group II deals with clean and green energy technologies. According to the commerce ministry’s statement, this event will also have about eight business leaders from each side in attendance who will present their views or suggestions. 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 small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, startup 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.

The following three Working Groups under the mechanism will report on roadmaps for future cooperation between two sides. This would be working group on strategic technologies, digital governance and digital Connectivity, working group on green and clean energy technologies, and lastly, 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, the statement from the commerce ministry 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 Free Trade Agreement (FTA), addressing issues of mutual market access, WTO reforms as well as cooperation in several areas of mutual interests would be discussed.

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