External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said that Cyprus was very "helpful" in moving the Free Trade Agreement of India with the European Union.
The negotiations between India and the European Union on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) have been stalled since May 2013, when both sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for the IT sector.
The talks resumed in 2021 during the India and EU Leaders’ meeting in Porto. The negotiations with the 27-nation grouping were launched in June 2007.
"We are working on free trade agreements with different countries to promote business. Obviously, one with the European Union is under negotiation, this decision was taken at a Porto Summit," Jaishankar said while addressing a business event.
"I think the government of Cyprus was very helpful in moving the European Union in that regard. We are very deeply appreciative of that...," Jaishankar, who is on his first official visit to Cyprus, said.
He also said that Cyprus is a strong voice in the view of the importance and the need to strengthen EU-India relations.
India’s bilateral trade with the EU amounted to USD 116.36 billion in 2021-22. Despite the global disruptions, bilateral trade achieved an impressive annual growth of 43.5 per cent in 2021-22.
The second round of negotiations took place in Brussels in September 2022
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, who also addressed the business event, said, "we discussed the framework of the EU-India relations, which over the years have evolved to a strategic partnership with both sides jointly working together to address common challenges, to promote peace and security, as well as effective multilateralism."
Currently, the EU is India’s second-largest trading partner after the US and the second-largest destination for Indian exports.
The trade agreement with the EU would help India further expand and diversify its exports of goods and services, including securing the value chains. Both sides aim for the trade negotiations to be broad-based, balanced, and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity.
Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to Cyprus as India and Cyprus celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.