Union Railways and Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal has said that Trade & economy is one of the most important pillars of India- European Union (EU) partnership. Addressing the Diplomatic & Industry Leadership Session on EU-India Collaborative Economic Growth today, he said that we are also hopeful of working with EU towards a FTA, possibly starting with a Preferential Trade Agreement for an early harvest to get faster outcomes.Shri Goyal said that under the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi, we have furthered our relationship across the European Union.India was one of the first countries to develop diplomatic relations with the EU & extend our hand of friendship.“Our friendship with the people of EU & the chemistry between PM Modi& various leaders of EU member countries is indeed remarkable. Our partnership surpasses political, innovation & cultural collaboration. We are both very natural partners willing to engage as responsible global citizens to address very pressing global challenges.We believe EU & India are 2 very important stakeholders when it comes to finding solutions for pressing matters.” The Minister called for strengthening 3-R approach that EU & India are using: Re-energise, Re-invent and Re-orient. He said that removing barriers to trade between Europe & India is essential to move forward. Shri Goyal said that EU is India’s largest trading partner block, with about $105 billion trade in goods in 2019.It is also the 2nd largest destination for Indian exports. He said “We believe we have to work towards balanced, ambitious & mutually beneficial trade & investment agreements. During the 15th India-EU summit in July 2020, we had adopted the EU-India strategic partnership which will guide our co-operation in the future.”Shri Goyal said that to combat the COVID crisis, India & Europe worked together whether it was for adequate supply of medicines to different European countries or other goods required tobattle coronavirus.
He said that through the lockdown, our Information Technology sector continued to serve businesses in Europe, without any interruption. “We met all our international obligations & therefore, India is looked upon as a trusted partner of the EU. India can be the trusted partner to move away from single source supply chains and countries can work in partnership with India for robust & sustainable global supply chains. During the pandemic, India never let down any of our friends.”, he added.On the Covid-19, Shri Goyal said that when it came to addressing the problem in India, we moved swiftly into lockdown so that we could save lives & as we were able to prepare ourselves to fight COVID. “We started unlock process from June. As we move from protecting lives to saving lives & livelihoods, we have evolved as per the emergent situation.We can see benefits of that in having one of the highest recovery rates in the world & one of the lowest fatality rate. We have one of the highest recovery rates in the world.”The Minister said that as we have opened up the economy, we are seeing that India is rapidly turning around, restoring its economic situation, rapidly coming back to normalcy. Recently, we have removed all restrictions on export of N-95 masks & Personal Protective Equipment. In the month of September, in the goods & merchandise sector, we have grown by 5.27% over the corresponding period of last year. Power consumption is up by 4.6% in September 2020 year on year.On the world trade also, India’s presence is felt. In goods & merchandise sector, in September 2020, we have grown by 5.27% over the same period last year. In the month of September and in the 1st 6 days of October, Railway freight has grown by 15% over the same period last year. He said that Indian economy is poised not only for normalcy but for growth in the years to come given that Prime Minister has offered Aatmanirbhar Bharat package for relief to the people & the industry. The Government has embarked on a series of reforms in Agriculture, labour, defence, space technology, mining, energy.