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Discussions on Trade Opportunities Between the EU and India Held at the European Parliament in Brussels

Updated: Mar 27

EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations

The Europe India Centre of Business and Industry (EICBI) convened its 5th Major session at the European Parliament in Brussels on March 6th, 2024. Titled the EU India Leaders Conference 2024, the session encompassed panel discussions addressing the current status of EU-India relations, along with focusing on collaboration opportunities in the automotive industry and medical equipment/ healthcare sector. 


EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations

Over the span of 13 years, the Europe India Centre of Business and Industry, supported by Sivaleen Foundation for Developed India, has been extensively engaged in fostering trade and relations between India and the European Union, as well as between India and the UK. Collaboratively with its associate organizations, the Europe India Centre of Business and Industry has orchestrated 26 Major summits at the British Parliament in London and 4 Major summits at the European Parliament in Brussels. These initiatives have been instrumental in promoting bilateral trade and relations by offering valuable insights into the Indian markets and business opportunities for companies from the UK and EU. Similarly, visiting delegations from India have gained a comprehensive understanding of the market dynamics in the UK and EU, along with identifying potential opportunities in these regions. 


EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations. EICBI Chairman Sujit S Nair speaking during the conference

The session began with Mr. Sujit S Nair, Chairman of EICBI, offering an introduction to the EU India Leaders Conference. Additionally, he highlighted the extensive efforts undertaken by EICBI and its supporting organizations over the years, detailing the campaigns and activities aimed at bolstering trade and relations between India and the EU.


Subsequently, Mr. Lars Berg, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Germany, delivered the welcome address, touching upon the topic of EU-India relations. Following this, Mr. Dacian Ciolos, MEP from Romania and former Prime Minister of Romania, as well as ex-EU Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, presented his keynote address.




This was followed by a felicitation ceremony for EuropeIndia40 leaders, moderated by Cllr Aarien Areti, who serves as a Councillor for the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Vice Chair of EICBI, took place.


During this ceremony, the 2023 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders were recognized and presented with certificates by MEPs Mr. Lars Berg and Mr. Dacian Ciolos.


EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations. 2023 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders received their certification at the European Parliament in Brussels

The 2023 Class of EuropeIndia40 leaders was initially unveiled during a virtual ceremony held on December 13th, 2023, in the presence of members from the Indian Parliament, UK Parliament, and European Parliament. Mr. Morten Lokkegaard, a Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Delegation for relations with India, Ms. Valerie Vaz, a senior Member of Parliament from the UK, and Mr. Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayalu, MP from the Indian Parliament, were among the dignitaries who participated in the virtual ceremony in December.


panel discussion centered on the EU -India trade relationship.. EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations

Following this, the first panel discussion centred on the EU -India trade relationship. The panelists for this discussion included Mr. Abhinav Kumar, Global Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Tata Consultancy Services; Mr. Nicolas Kohler-Suzuki, Associate Researcher at the Jacques Delors Institute; Mr. Jean-marc FENET, former Minister-Counsellor for economic affairs in India and South Asia at the French Embassy, India, and Professor at Essec Business School; and Mr. Michael Saxl from the European Policy Department at the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. Ms. Manisha Reuter, Deputy Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, moderated the session.

 

Abhinav Kumar emphasized the increasing significance of the IT sector for both the EU

and India, constituting 4% of the EU’s economy and 7.5% of India’s, while employing a combined workforce of 11.8 million people. He highlighted the potential of AI to further enhance the economic prospects of this sector. Kumar underscored India's pivotal role as a strategic hub for technology talent globally, boasting the world’s largest digital and

panel discussion centeed on the EU -India trade relationship.EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations

AI-ready workforce. With over 1 million cloud experts in India and a rapid upskilling in AI, he noted TCS's efforts in retraining over 250,000 employees in Gen AI. Kumar also discussed the EU's leadership in setting standards, exemplified by the EU AI Act, marking the world's inaugural endeavour to regulate and responsibly utilize AI. He emphasized the significance of the 2050 and 2070 Net Zero commitments by both regions, highlighting the strategic geopolitical advantages gained through expedited green energy transitions. Kumar further emphasized the symbolic and practical importance of the Trade & Technology Council established by India and the EU to deepen collaboration in strategic technologies such as AI, Quantum, Semiconductors, and Cybersecurity. Notably, he highlighted India as only the second country, following the US, to engage in such high-level cooperation with the EU.


panel discussion centered on the EU -India trade relationship.EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations

Nicolas Köhler-Suzuki based his remarks on a comprehensive report on EU-India relations by the Jacques Delors Institute and the Observer Research Foundation. The report underscores the urgent need for the EU and India to deepen their economic partnership to address common challenges such as pandemics, climate change, and the evolving multipolar world order. Despite historical hurdles in trade negotiations, there's potential for a renewed alignment of ambitions and strategies. Key points from his intervention highlighted how, over the past two decades, EU merchandise exports to India have quadrupled, yet India’s share in the EU’s export basket has remained relatively unchanged, while the EU’s share in India’s import basket has declined. Notably, compared to EU exports to China, there's considerable room for growth. Overcoming market access barriers is imperative for boosting European exports, particularly given India's existing FTAs with other countries. Köhler-Suzuki also discussed how India's exports to the EU tripled from 2000 to 2010 but have slowed in recent years, partly due to EU tariff barriers and standards that disproportionately affect India’s small-scale agricultural sector. Challenges are further compounded by competition with countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh, along with the discontinuation of India's GSP benefits from the EU. He emphasized the significance of EU investments in India, yet acknowledged their insufficiency in meeting India’s needs. The nuances of India's 'Make in India' initiative and its impact on attracting FDI were explored, highlighting the difficulty of positioning India as a manufacturing hub alternative to China, given existing tariff barriers and investment focus on India's domestic market. These observations underscore the importance of facilitating meaningful market access and investment flows between the EU and India. As negotiations for trade, investment, and GI agreements progress, Köhler-Suzuki advocated for comprehensive agreements that align with the goals of the European de-risking strategy.


The second panel discussion centered on collaboration opportunities between the EU and India in the automotive industry.



Panelists included Ms. Angela Mans, Head of Foreign Trade and International Relations at the German Association of the Automotive Industry e.V. (VDA); Mr. Rajarshi Sahai, Venture Partner at MobilityFund; Advocate CA Harsh Patel, Founder & CEO of Water and Shark and an International Corporate & Tax Lawyer; and Mr. Suresh Latchoumanassamy, Director at Segula Technologies. Moderating the discussion was Mr. Alexander Deblond, Founding Partner at Patroklos, Lecturer at Thomas More Business School, and Doctoral Researcher at the University of Antwerp. Ms. Mans emphasized the benefits of international collaboration and highlighted the importance of the EU-India Free Trade Agreement. She discussed the potential advantages of dismantling barriers on both sides, which she believes would create a win-win situation. Furthermore, she noted the increasing competitiveness of the Indian automotive industry and its readiness for export. Drawing from her experience as a jury member for the prestigious ACMA AWARDS, she observed the progress made by Indian suppliers in various fields such as export performance and technology.


Intergration of Ayurveda on collaboration opportunities between the EU and India in the healthcare.. EU India Leaders Conference 2024 at European Parliament in Brussels. Organised by Europe India Centre for Business and Industry EICBI to promote EU India relations

After the conclusion of the panel discussion, Dr. Ravishankar Polisetty, Vice Chair of EICBI in the healthcare sector, addressed the audience. He discussed the integration of Ayurveda and modern medicine into medical devices, emphasizing the strategic partnership between the EU and India. Dr. Polisetty, a cardiac surgeon and the Founder CEO of Sai Ganga Panakeia Private Limited, also holds expertise in naturopathy.

 

The third panel discussion focused on collaboration opportunities between the EU and India in the medical equipment and healthcare sector.



Panelists for this discussion included Mr. Artus Balarama Galiay, who serves as the Director for UK/Ireland/India for Nord France Invest; Ms. Shruti Chandra, the Vice President at Invest India; Mr. Santosh Kumar, an Investor and CEO at B2B Growth; and Mr. Anoop Vasavan, the Managing Director of AVA Cholayil Health Care Pvt. Ltd. The session was moderated by Dr. Ravishankar Polisetty.



Concluding the conference, Mr. Ludovic Dalleau, EICBI Vice Chair from France and Founder of the Indian Business Club, France, delivered the closing address. The event was anchored by Mr. Abhishek Tripathi, EICBI Vice Chair responsible for Events and Managing Director of Abhiflo Consulting. Subsequent to the closing remarks, attendees engaged in networking over drinks and canapés. Photo of the conference can be viewed here - https://bit.ly/EILC2024photos

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