PM Modi, Austrian Chancellor Nehammer push to expedite India-EU FTA

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Vienna, Jul 10 (PTI) Emphasising that India and the European Union have “the largest and most vibrant free-market space in the world," India and Austria on Wednesday discussed the India-EU relationship and said the long-pending EU Free Trade Agreement must be expedited.

Noting that deeper EU-India ties will be mutually beneficial as well as have a positive global impact, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reaffirmed their strong support for the ongoing India-EU trade and investment negotiations and the early implementation of the EU-India Connectivity Partnership.

Modi paid an official two-day visit to Austria at the invitation of Chancellor Nehammer, the first visit to Austria of an Indian Prime Minister after 41 years in a year that marks the 75th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“A set of issues on which both Chancellor and the Prime Minister focused was India-EU relationship, as you know, in their EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been under negotiation for over 23 years,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a media briefing here on Modi’s visit.

“Prime Minister Modi and the Austrian Chancellor agreed that this was an awfully long time for discussions to have been dragged on and they agreed that this is something that both India and they should try to try in terms of taking it forward at a quicker pace,” Kwatra said.

“They of course, also spoke about the range of opportunities both in the economic and political space,” he said, adding, “They are in India-EU partnership and also how India-Austria relationship positions synergistically in the overall India-EU relationship.” The EU is India's third largest trading partner, accounting for 88 billion Euros worth of trade in goods in 2021 or 10.8 per cent of total Indian trade. India is the EU’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 2.1 per cent of EU total trade in goods. Trade in services between the EU and India reached 30.4 billion Euros in 2020, according to the figures available on the EU website.

An India-Austria joint statement at the end of the official state visit said the two leaders emphasised that India and the European Union have the largest and most vibrant free-market space in the world, and noted that deeper EU-India ties will be mutually beneficial as well as have a positive global impact.

“Chancellor Nehammer and Prime Minister Modi agreed to support various initiatives to bring India and the EU closer. In this context, they reaffirmed their strong support for the ongoing India-EU trade and investment negotiations and the early implementation of the EU-India Connectivity Partnership,” it said. PTI NPK AKJ NPK NPK

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