EU and India revive stalled trade talks

At summit, leaders agree to take another shot at comprehensive pact.

EU and India revive stalled trade talks

India and the EU said on Saturday they would resume their long-stalled trade talks, which collapsed in 2013 amid European frustration about market access in sectors ranging from cars to liquor.

With both sides facing increased strategic and commercial competition from China, European and Indian leaders announced at a summit in the Portuguese city of Porto that they would take another shot at a trade pact. After lengthy discussions about whether it made more sense to attempt a scaled-down “mini deal,” they chose to aim for a fully-fledged free-trade agreement.

“We agreed to resume negotiations for a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade agreement which would respond to the current challenges,” the two sides said after the summit, which most EU leaders attended in person while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined by videolink.

“We agreed that in order to create the required positive dynamic for negotiations, it is imperative to find solutions to long-standing market access issues,” the leaders said in a joint statement, in an apparent reference to some of Europe’s biggest bugbears, like 125 percent car tariffs.

The statement also said that Brussels and New Delhi would work separately toward an agreement on investment protection and an accord on safeguarding gourmet food labels.