India Can Prove To Be EU's Most Natural Ally, Says Piyush Goyal; Seeks EU Support On TRIPS Waiver Issue At WTO

India Can Prove To Be EU's Most Natural Ally, Says Piyush Goyal; Seeks EU Support On TRIPS Waiver Issue At WTOCommerce Minister Piyush Goyal (Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images)

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Tuesday (13 April) said that India can prove to be the most natural ally for the European Union (EU).

Addressing the ambassadors of the EU member states, Goyal said that partnership of EU and India can emerge as a model of good governance, growth and development.

Goyal said that India and EU’s ‘Union of Diversity’ shares values of Democracy and Rule of Law. They also share strong economic, socio-cultural, strategic and political ties, the minister said.

He said that India and EU are one of the world’s largest markets. EU countries collectively are the largest trading partner for India, as well as one of the largest investors in India, the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

India-EU collaboration in research and innovation has expanded significantly, and there is large scope of further enhancement of engagement, the minister noted.

Talking about COVID-19, the Minister said that the year 2020 has tested world’s resolve and determination. He said that India imposed the strictest lockdown as we strongly believe “Lives matter”.

During the lockdown, we were able to prepare ourselves and our infrastructure like ventilators, ICU beds, PPE kits etc, the minister said.

Despite the lockdown, we met our international commitments, particularly in services and didn’t allow any value chain to get affected. We ensured essentials commodities like food grains, vegetables, milk, medicine etc reached each home, he added.

Goyal said that during COVID-19, investments have fallen worldwide, but they have grown in India. It shows that the world also appreciates and recognises India’s true potential, which is clearly evident by record FDI and Portfolio numbers, even during the COVID-19 year, he added.

Goyal further said that combination of India’s manufacturing & EU’s innovation capacity can be a game changer.

Calling for Resilient India-EU relations, he said that India and EU should look at vast areas of Convergence. He added that India looks forward to advance the negotiations towards an agreement between India and EU on Investment facilitation and protection for mutually beneficial outcome.

He emphasised on the need for proportional and simultaneous discussions on both trade and investment, so that, we have balanced outcome for both parties.

The minister called for Early Harvest agreements, which he said are fully WTO compliant. He called for addressing the non-tariff barriers on both sides.

He said that India has proposed TRIPS waiver at WTO for a limited period so that humanity at large could have access to the COVID-19 related products, and sought the support of EU on the issue.

Shri Goyal also stated that WTO Reforms are a shared objective of India and the EU. He said that he is looking forward to working with the European counterparts to pave the way for the EU-India Summit in Porto in May this year.

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