(FILE) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen holds a news conference after a virtual summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Brussels, Belgium, 15 July 2020. EFE/EPA/YVES HERMAN / POOL

Top EU, India ministers discuss trade, tech challenges at inaugural Brussels summit

Brussels, May 16 (EFE).- Ministers from India and the European Union were meeting in Brussels on Tuesday at the first-ever EU-India Trade and Technology Council Summit.

(FILE) Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (L) is welcomed by European Council President Charles Michel (R) prior to a meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 17 February 2020.  EFE/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET / POOL

Some of India’s highest-ranking politicians, including foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and trade minister Piyush Goyal, were meeting with their counterparts from the European Commission, executive vice presidents Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis, the respective Commissioners for competition and trade.

The first session of the TTC is a “significant milestone in the strategic partnership” between India and the EU that represents a “focus on key domains that are critical to both the global economy and global security,” Jaishankar said during his opening remarks.

“It is our expectation that the TTC would become a crucial platform for the exchanges” in focus areas including “strategic technologies, digital governance and connectivity, clean and green energy technologies and resilient value chains,” India’s foreign minister added.

Goyal, for his part, said the TTC was both “appropriate and timely” given the “unprecedented times and challenges” facing the international community and global economy, challenges that “warrant unprecedented actions.”

The TTC has the potential to become “one of the most important bilateral structures to enhance our trade and investment religions, guide them in a direction that is essential for the strategic growth and security of both sides and usher in a new era of prosperity for the people of both the EU and India,” Goyal said.

Opening the session, Vestager praised the ambition displayed by both parties for “using technology to build a society where people feel truly included and where we make the best use of technology for that purpose.”

Her fellow vice president, Valdis Dombrovskis, described the newly inaugurated forum as a “major new endeavor” that will further consolidate the already strong and forward looking strategic partnership” between the EU and India, which he said “share key strategic interests.”

Tuesday’s inaugural “agenda-setting meeting” will set out a roadmap for future cooperation, Vestager said.

The hope is that the forum will serve to iron out differences relating to, among other things, the EU’s impending Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a border tax that will take effect in 2026 that will force importers to pay a levy that is in line with what European companies are required to pay, which India has complained amounts to unfair trading practices. EFE