New Delhi: The first Ministerial meeting of India and the European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is all set to take place next week in Brussels and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will co-chair the meeting, according to a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.

The meeting will be held on May 16 and will be co-chaired by External Affairs Minister; Ministers of Commerce and Industry; and Communications, Electronics and Information Technology.

The TTC was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in April 2022.

" Both sides established three Working Groups under the TTC: (i) a Working Group on Strategic Technologies, Digital Governance and Digital Connectivity; (ii) a Working Group on Green and Clean Energy Technologies; and (iii) a Working Group on Trade, Investment and Resilient Value Chains," the statement read.

" Both sides have maintained continuous engagement thereafter within the Working Groups at various levels and meetings of the three Working Groups have also taken place leading to the Ministerial meeting in Brussels," the statement added.

Earlier, the MEA, in February, said in a statement that the TTC is a strategic coordination mechanism that will allow both partners to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security, and thus deepen cooperation in these fields between India and the EU. The TTC with India is only the second such Council for the EU and the first such mechanism for India.

The Ministerial meetings of the TTC will rely on the preparatory work of three working groups, which will meet within two weeks to organise their work: Strategic technologies, digital governance and digital connectivity, Green and clean energy technologies and lastly Trade, investment and resilient value chains, according to the statement.

The first working group will work on areas of mutual interest such as digital connectivity, Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G, high performance and quantum computing, semiconductors, cloud systems, cybersecurity, digital skills and digital platforms, as per the EC's statement.

On 17 June 2022, the European Union relaunched negotiations with India for a Free Trade Agreement and launched separate negotiations for an Investment Protection Agreement and an Agreement on Geographical Indications (GIs), according to the EU.

India is the EU's 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 2.1 per cent of EU total trade in goods. Trade in services between the EU and India reached Euro 30.4 billion in 2020.