EU-India ties on ascending trajectory with growing economic footprint: Envoy

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) The EU-India relations have been on an "ascending trajectory" with a growing economic footprint, Ambassador of the Delegation of European Union to India Hervé Delphin has said.

He said the ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and India "hold promise to enhance trade flows and economic cooperation significantly".

The Federation of European Business in India (FEBI), the official Chamber of EU businesses in India, supported by the EU Delegation in India and the embassies of the EU member states, has held its first Annual General Meeting, marking a significant milestone in its new journey, according to an official statement issued on Monday.

The meeting formalised the Board of Directors with 14 elected members and confirmed key office bearers, it said.

Rémi Maillard, President and Managing Director of Airbus in India and South Asia, will lead FEBI as its first president, with Sanjay Tiwari, Public Affairs Advisor to Maersk India Pvt. Ltd. and Oscar Esteban, President, Indo-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, elected as vice-president and treasurer, the statement said.

The inaugural AGM was held in New Delhi on July 4.

"EU-India relations have been on an ascending trajectory, with a growing economic footprint. Over 4,500 European companies are present in India, providing 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs," Delphin, Ambassador of the EU to India and Honorary President of FEBI, was quoted as saying in the statement.

"The EU is India's largest trading partner in goods, with trade amounting to EUR 123 billion in 2022-23, and ranks among the top three investors in India. Ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and India hold promise to enhance trade flows and economic cooperation significantly.

"FEBI will bring a very much needed business perspective that will contribute to the further expansion and bringing together of the EU-India economic and trade ecosystem. It will be a true force multiplier," he said.

FEBI will maintain close and constructive relations with Indian and European authorities, acting as a "credible intermediary" between government and businesses and an "advocacy place" for pro-business policies and solutions, said the statement issued by the Delegation of the European Union to India and Bhutan.

Currently, FEBI boasts a membership of 73 companies representing a diverse cross-section of EU member states across 10 sectors in India, including aerospace, automotive, agri-food products, chemicals and pharmaceutical, consumer and luxury goods, finance and insurance, telecom and ICT and digital trade, machinery and capital goods, energy and renewables, and transportation and logistics. More companies are in the process of joining FEBI, it said.

FEBI's mission is to articulate the collective business interests of EU companies in India and facilitate the growth in trade and investment between the EU and India.

"It is as much an honour as a responsibility to helm FEBI as its inaugural president. FEBI will serve as a bridge between Europe and India to deepen bilateral trade and investment. India's rapid expansion holds significant potential for European companies to grow here in a symbiotic way," Maillard was quoted as saying in the statement.

"We will work with our Indian and EU stakeholders and industrial partners to ensure that trade opens more opportunities, thereby helping both regions to grow and thrive together," he said after his confirmation as president of FEBI. PTI KND RHL