India is one of the growing economies that will reshape the global economy in the twenty-first century. Europe is the world’s largest trading power. Both sides are involved in negotiations to boost trade and investment at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and bilaterally through an ambitious Free Trade Agreement.

Our bilateral trade has more than doubled in the last decade, making the European Union Indias number one trade and investment partner. Two-way trade in goods between the EU and India reached EUR 77.3 billion in 2015 or EUR 211 million per day. If we add services, total trade now exceeds EUR 100 billion/year, or EUR 275 million per day!

Moreover, in addition to being the foremost destination for Indian outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the EU is also India’s most important source of inward FDI – after Mauritius – with almost EUR 5 billion of EU outward investment to India in 2014. Investment from India destined for the EU was over EUR 1 billion. At the end of 2014, the total stock of Indian FDI in the EU was EUR 6.7 billion and the entire stock of EU FDI in India was EUR 38.5 billion.

The EU and India hope to increase their trade in both goods and services – as well as investment – through the negotiations for a free trade agreement (better known as Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement – BTIA) that they launched in 2007.

Europe is the world’s largest trading bloc

The EU is the world’s biggest trader, accounting for 16.5% of the world’s imports and exports. Free trade among its members was one of the EU’s founding principles, and it is committed to liberalising world trade as well.

The EU is the world’s largest exporter of manufactured goods and services and is the biggest import market for more than one hundred countries. It is also the world’s largest single market area, with more than 500 million consumers, as well as the world’s largest foreign direct investor and recipient of foreign direct investment

In this ‘borderless’ Europe, people and products can move freely from one place to another. The 28 Member States of the European Union share a single market, and only the external border and single trade policy. European Union Member States have agreed to pool their sovereignty and follow a standard procedure on international trade. It means there is one negotiation, one negotiator – the European Commission – and at the end of the process just one agreement instead of 28 different sets of trade rules with each of Europe’s trading partners. The Commission also represents the EU Member States in the WTO.

Member State embassies in partner countries are in charge of export promotion and offer a wide range of services to their national operators, including helping them to understand the Indian market better, find local contacts, carry out in-depth research on the market for their goods and attend trade fairs.


In October 2015, the European Commission presented ‘Trade for All‘, a renewed trade and investment strategy which takes stock of the crucial developments in world’s economy during the last few years. The plan foresees a responsible approach responding to new economic realities in line with the EU’s foreign policy.

The EU is the world’s biggest trading bloc, and more than 30 million EU jobs depend on exports; on the other hand, 90 % of future global growth will happen outside Europe’s borders. The new strategy will make trade agreements more productive and create more opportunities, thus supporting jobs in Europe. The new policy is also a direct response to the intense debate on trade currently underway in the EU – including the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being negotiated with the United States. It also implements the Juncker Commission’s pledge to listen and respond to the European public’s concerns.

In the words of EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. “Trade policy must become more effective, more transparent and more in tune with our values. In short, it must become more responsible. That’s what we’re doing.”

The new strategy makes EU trade policy more responsible by basing it on three fundamental principles:

Effectiveness: Making sure trade delivers on its promise of new economic opportunities. That means addressing the issues that affect today’s economy, including services and digital trade; it also means providing the means and information necessary for ensuring that European small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), consumers and workers can take full advantage of – and adapt to – more open markets.

Transparency: Opening up negotiations to more public scrutiny by publishing key negotiating texts from all negotiations, as has been done in the TTIP negotiations.

Values: Safeguarding the European social and regulatory model at home. Using trade agreements and preference programmes as levers to for the worldwide promotion of European values such as sustainable development, human rights, fair and ethical trade and the fight against corruption.

These three principles ensure that trade policy benefits as many people as possible.

India is rapidly integrating with the global economy

At 1.25 billion, India is the second-most populous state and the largest democracy in the world. With an annual GDP growth rate in excess of 7.5 % for over a decade, it is now in the world’s top ten largest economies (4th by PPP).

As such, India is an important trade and investment partner for the EU, combining a sizable and growing market with one of the fastest-growing economies in the world – arguably the fastest among the big economies.

Although it is far from the closed market that it was twenty years ago, India still maintains substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder trade with the EU.

For more information on trade, please refer to the documents and links at the bottom of this page.