In its first high-level dialogue on bilateral trade and investment with India, the European Union recognised New Delhi’s strategic role as a “major vaccine producer” and expressed openness to discuss vaccine-related matters, informed sources said.
India and the EU agreed that ensuring universal, equitable, affordable and safe vaccine is a priority, they added.
Amid the pandemic which has claimed over 2.30 million lives, India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, in recent weeks have supplied COVID-19 vaccines to several countries including Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh
India hosted the first India-EU high-level dialogue (HLD) on Friday through virtual mode. The HLD was co-chaired by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, and European Commission Executive Vice-President & Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis.
The dialogue has been established as part of the commitment made during the 15th India-EU Leaders’ virtual Summit held on July 15, 2020, to provide ministerial-level guidance to the bilateral trade and investment relations.
“Both sides agreed that ensuring universal, equitable, affordable, and safe vaccine is a priority for all of us. EU side recognised India’s strategic role as a Major Vaccine Producer and expressed openness to discuss Vaccine related matters for understanding the obstacles,” the government sources said.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the ministers, during the dialogue, emphasised the importance of global cooperation and solidarity in a post-COVID-19 era and agreed for further deepening of bilateral trade and investment relationship through a series of regular engagements, aiming at quick deliverable for the businesses in these tough times.
During the dialogue, Piyush Goyal said that the COVAX initiative, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, without a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, won’t help in ending this pandemic and sought the EU’s support is essential in this crucial endeavour to save humanity, the sources said.
The ministers also agreed to meet within the next three months, with an objective for reaching consensus on a host of bilateral trade and investment cooperation issues including a bilateral Regulatory Dialogue and an India-EU Multilateral Dialogue to explore further possibilities of cooperation.
In a significant step forward, regular interactions for re-initiation of bilateral trade and investment agreements, with an interim agreement to start with, were also discussed.
Sources said that the objective is to take forward any of the possible deliverables in the upcoming Leaders’ Summit including launching an investment facilitation mechanism, working on regulatory cooperation, removing Trade barriers, deepening research, and promoting innovation.
“Clean economy, addressing Multilateral issues of mutual interest, continuing on the IPR dialogue, sharing experience in building Resilient Value chains, etc,” they said.
During the dialogue, the sources said: “Piyush Goyal said that India has been successful in bending the Covid curve. He added that India is now witnessing a V-shaped recovery and will be the fastest-growing economy due to the Government’s Atmanirbhar initiatives. India also ensured equitable and affordable vaccine access to all countries especially less developed countries.”
The ministers concluded with confidence and commitment towards a renewed India-EU commercial and economic partnership reflecting the full potential of bilateral commercial relations.