Business summit between EU and India

In connection with the EU–India Summit, a Business Summit between the EU and India was held in New Delhi on Friday 6 November. European participants included Sweden’s Minister for Trade Ewa Björling, EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and business leaders.

The tenth Business Summit between the EU and India took place on Friday in New Delhi under the heading 'Strengthening Synergies for Growth'. The Business Summit is arranged in cooperation with the two Indian chambers of commerce the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (FICCI), the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and Brussels-based BUSINESSEUROPE.

During the Business Summit business leaders from India and Europe took part in roundtable discussions, after which two parallel tracks emerged on infrastructure and skills development. Dr Björling, Commissioner Ashton and Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma each delivered a speech.

The EU is India’s largest trading partner and there is broad consensus between the EU and India in many issues concerning trade. The importance of a free trade agreement between the parties was emphasised by both European and Indian representatives. However, Harsh Pati Singhania, President of the FICCI, pointed out that the issue of climate change must be solved separately from the trade issues.

The  Doha Round, which deals with free trade at global level, was the other important issue advocated during the Business Summit. The global economic crisis has increased the need for an agreement from the Doha Round. India is one of the countries that, despite the crisis, has remained a supporter of free trade. Hopes were expressed that the Doha Round would lead to an agreement in 2010.

"Trade is a key for the economy to be able to recover. The Doha Round is therefore a priority and even more important in view of the economic crisis. An agreement from the Doha Round would mean the greatest liberalisation in the history of world trade," said Swedish Trade Minister.