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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Remarks by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the joint press conference with President Donald Tusk and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the 14th EU-India Summit

New Delhi, 6 October 2017


Prime Minister,

Mister President, Donald,


We are delighted to be here. This is my second trip to India – the first having taken place in 1999 – and it is not the last. I will come back – that is for the threatening part of the press conference.

Working together with India, a like-minded partner, simply makes sense. It is natural.

And this is becoming truer when it comes to trade. Every year we exchange EUR 100 billion worth of goods and services, creating millions of jobs both in India and in the European Union.

We are – India and the European Union – the loudest voices in the world for free and fair trade, and this message was reinforced during today's Summit.

When it comes to trade, we are not starting from scratch – far from it. The EU is already India's largest trading partner, accounting for more than 13% of India's overall trade.

The European Union is the largest investor in India. And later on today at the Business Forum I will have the pleasure to meet some of the 6,000 European companies that have set up headquarters and innovation hubs across the country.

The trading of goods is almost perfectly balanced with exports and imports almost equal on both sides.

All of this will remain true beyond March 2019 when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The EU 27 will still be India's largest trading partner, we will still be the world's second largest economy and we will still be the biggest source and recipient of foreign direct investment.

With this in mind I believe it is time for a Free Trade Agreement between India and the European Union.

Once the circumstances are right – and only once the circumstances are right – we will resume. Today's Summit is an important step in the right direction and our chief negotiators will sit down in the next coming days to chart a way forward.

Beyond the free flow of goods and services, we should also step up work to ensure the free flow of personal data between your great nation and the European continent.

This is why I stressed this morning the importance on the need to agree to the highest standards of data protection.

Indian companies have specialised in offering back office and IT services to European companies. Many of these services – and the jobs that go with them – depend on the exchange of data.

If India's standards of data protection are converging with those of the European Union, the European Union will be in a position to recognise the adequacy of India's rules. This is a precondition for exchanging personal data freely and securely.

I thank my friend Prime Minister Modi once again for today's Summit and for so many meetings we had in the past and I look forward to welcoming you back to Europe as soon as possible.


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