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International affairs


The main result of the 6th Summit held in New Delhi on 7 September 2005, was the agreement on the EU-India Joint Action Plan (JAP). The JAP can be considered as the Road Map in the EU-India bilateral relations since then, and it has proved to be and efficient mechanism to develop dialogue.

The JAP has a special chapter dedicated to the Economic Policy Dialogue; it defines actions in the domains related to DG Enterprise and Industry competences. In particular, DG Enterprise and Industry is involved in:

  • Industrial policy,
  • Food Industry,
  • TBT and SPS,
  • Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology,
  • Space policy,
  • Automotive industry.

The TBT Working Group has been established to deepen the dialogue on TBT and SPS issues with a view to facilitating bilateral trade and increasing market access. The working group provides a forum for examining issues, exchanging information, and discussing good regulatory practices for the mutual benefits of both sides. It develops works with a view to facilitating access to the EU's and India's respective markets, including by increasing the mutual knowledge, understanding and compatibility of the respective systems, while respecting the legitimate right to adopt measures to protect health, safety and the environment.

The matters discussed included technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment, as covered by the WTO Agreement on "Technical Barriers to Trade" (the TBT Agreement) and the WTO Agreement on "Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures" (the SPS Agreement), and other related trade issues as appropriate, such as regulatory or procedural non-tariff barriers to trade.

The fourth EU-India Working Group on TBT and SPS issues took place in Brussels on 21 and 22 September 2009.

The most recent meeting of the Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Working Group was held in Delhi on 21 September 2009.  The working group started its activities in July 2006 when it adopted its own terms of reference and identified a number of issues to be addressed during the course of its operation. The main concerns of the European industry are related to IPR issues and clinical trials. On the Indian side, there is an interest in the Ayurveda medicinal products and their potential access to the EU market.

On Ayurveda issues a preparatory experts meeting was organised on 16 May 2006 in the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) offices in London, involving representatives from the Government of India, the European Commission and EU experts from the Committee for Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). A report was presented at the first meeting of the working group, summarising the different technical issues identified at the meeting concerning the EU legal framework on traditional herbal medicinal products and the potential application of this framework to Ayurveda products.

In January 2007 a joint fact-finding mission (the European Commission and the EMEA) took place in order to assess all the relevant aspects linked to Ayurveda products, e.g. nature of products, manufacturing, evaluation and registration, and healthcare settings. The report of that mission was included on the Agenda of the second  meeting of the working group, held in May 2007 in Delhi.

The third meeting of the working group, held in June 2008 in Brussels, included representatives from DG Trade and DG Research as well as a representative of the EMEA. It was an occasion to develop a number of presentations and exchange of views on legislative activities relevant to pharmaceuticals, including IPRs. In the framework of the meeting, a visit to a manufacturing industry on medical devices, Medtronic in Heerlen, Netherlands was organised on 4 June 2008.

At that meeting an exchange of views on the medical devices sector took place for the first time. It was agreed to start an informal exchange of information and to explore the idea of establishing an expert group dealing with medical devices.

The Commission and the relevant Indian authorities are also engaged in mutual cooperation in the area of space policy.

During the NinthEU-India Summit, held on 29 September 2008 in Marseille, the results of the work on the revision of the Joint Action Plan pdf - 116 KB [116 KB] were jointly agreed by both sides. Among other new initiatives, the EU and India identified the following new activities to complement the 2005 EU-India Joint Action: to establish a working group on the engineering sector including the automotive industry; a dialogue on sustainable industrial policy; and the strengthening of co-operation on the Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector.

The Tenth India-European Union Summit was held in New Delhi on 6 November 2009. The Republic of India was represented by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh. The EU was represented by Mr Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister of Sweden, in his capacity as President of the Council of the European Union, and Mr. Jose Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission. The leaders discussed regional and global issues, and the means to prioritise, rationalise and strengthen EU-India relations. The leaders expressed satisfaction with the rapid expansion of the relationship between the EU and India since the first Summit in 2000, which is now deeper and stronger, founded on a global, strategic and mutually beneficial partnership.

The Leaders underscored that the successive Summit meetings have provided a solid ground for nurturing the strategic partnership between India and the EU. The Leaders affirmed their determination to further strengthen the Strategic Partnership and to cooperate both at the bilateral and global levels for the cause of peace, security and sustainable development for all. The Joint Action Plan (JAP), which was reviewed by the 2008 summit in Marseille, and which has expanded to include diverse areas, is an important element of this partnership. The EU and India have the ambition to build on this to further deepen their dialogue, including on  a political level.

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