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Goyal Assures Protection of Indian Farmers & Dairy Sector in EU Free Trade Agreement

According to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, India will fully protect the interests of farmers and the dairy sector in the planned free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union.

Shivam Dwivedi
Goyal Assures Protection of Indian Farmers & Dairy Sector in EU Free Trade Agreement
Goyal Assures Protection of Indian Farmers & Dairy Sector in EU Free Trade Agreement

Goyal was on an official visit to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral trade and investment ties with leaders and the business sector. In addition, the minister travelled to Paris for the India-France business summit. Goyal stated that Italy & France have expressed unwavering support for the early conclusion of trade talks between India and the EU.

During the talks in Italy and France, he added, India stressed the disparities in economic conditions and per capita income between the two countries. However, the types of economic potential that India affords for EU enterprises are enormous, and "nobody in the world can provide those," he added.

"With all of this in mind, we would pursue the FTA... We will defend the interests of farmers and the dairy industry. We've done it with trade pacts with the UAE and Australia as well," Goyal said.

The fifth round of negotiations between India and the European Union (EU) is set to take place in New Delhi from June 19 to June 23. After an eight-year hiatus, India and the 27-nation EU resumed negotiations on proposed trade, investment, and Geographical Indications (GI) accords on June 17, last year.

Top officials at the Commerce Secretary level would meet in August to assess the status of negotiations. India began trade talks with the EU in 2007, but the talks froze in 2013 after both sides failed to reach an agreement on crucial issues such as customs taxes on vehicles and alcohol, as well as the mobility of professionals.

In 2021-22, India's merchandise exports to EU member countries were estimated to reach around USD 65 billion, while imports totaled USD 51.4 billion. A geographical indication (GI) is generally an agricultural, natural, or manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial commodities) that originates in a certain geographical location.

Typically, such a name gives a guarantee of quality and uniqueness, which is mostly attributable to its origin. India will not make any concessions in its interests... that is not possible," Goyal stressed. He stated that the European Union's announcement of placing a carbon tax on specific sectors such as metals is under consideration.

India has already expressed alarm over the European Union's adoption of a carbon price, claiming that such measures need New Delhi to rethink its approach to a free trade pact. The EU will implement the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) on October 1st of this year. CBAM will impose a 20-35 percent tariff on certain EU imports beginning January 1, 2026.

According to a paper by the economic think tank Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), the European Union's carbon border adjustment system will have a negative impact on India's exports of metals such as iron, steel, and aluminium to the EU. In 2022, the EU received 27% of India's iron, steel, and aluminium exports totaling USD 8.2 billion.

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