. In today’s fragmented world, the power of any aspiring global player depends on the number and quality of its bilateral and multilateral relationships.
The EU and India have much in common. Both aim to enhance strategic autonomy and their global standing. Diversifying strategic value chains is also a common interest, as is the urgent need to address climate change. The EU and India can support each other in these endeavours.
On purely economic terms, the EU is India’s first trading partner and the biggest foreign investor, with €67.7 billion worth of investments made in 2018, equal to 22% of total FDI inflows. But there is still room for improvement — especially when compared to EU investments in China which, in the same year, amounted to €175.3 billion. Enhanced business cooperation can help both the EU and India diversify their strategic value chains and reduce economic dependency — notably on China. India could succeed in attracting EU investment that might be moving out of China, but to do so, it must address the mutual trust deficit. Facilitating people’s mobility and connectivity is a good way to improve mutual understanding and create opportunities for innovation and growth.
The EU and India must also tackle the elephant in the room: the stagnating Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. A new study from the European Parliament assesses the potential impact of an EU-India trade agreement at between €8 billion and €8.5 billion gains from increased trade for both sides, with a more significant increase of trade gains likely to flow to India. The study also refers to additional potential gains from enhanced coordination on the provision of global public goods, such as environmental standards.
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