New Delhi: European Union looks forward to deepening ties with “key partner” New Delhi by advancing talks for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the bloc’s top trade official said ahead of India visit.

EU Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, will embark on a 5-day visit to India on Tuesday, said European Union's diplomatic service in a statement on Monday.

He will attend the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting in Jaipur, and co-chair the EU-India High-Level Dialogue on Trade and Investment together with Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi.

“India is a key partner for the EU and we look forward to engaging with our Indian counterparts on how we can further deepen our ties, notably by advancing our talks for a Free Trade Agreement. The G20 comes just six months before the 13th Ministerial Conference of the WTO, so we must seize this opportunity to drive forward the multilateral trade agenda at a time of global turbulence,” Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, was quoted in the statement.

During his stay, he is also due to meet Nirmala Sitharaman, Indian Minister of Finance, for discussions on the EU’s relations with India, European External Action Service (EEAS) said.

The EU said it is aiming to deepen ties with India and working to that end with negotiations on three ambitious agreements: a Free Trade Agreement, an Investment Protection Agreement and a Geographical Indications Agreement.

“Closer EU-India cooperation is symbolised through the parallel engagement in the Trade and Technology Council,” the statement read.

Last year, the European Union and India relaunched negotiations to forge a free trade agreement, with the aim of completing talks by the end of 2023.

The two sides previously launched talks in 2007, however, they were frozen in 2013. EU and Indian leaders agreed in May 2021 to resume negotiations.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is a pact between two or more countries to remove trade barriers between imports and exports and ensure hassle-free trade relations.

During his mission to India, Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis will also participate in a meeting with European Business, organised jointly by EU Delegation and Task Force to establish a Federation of European Business in India (FEBI).

The key themes of the G20 meeting in Jaipur, starting Wednesday, are multilateral trade for global growth and prosperity, inclusive and resilient trade, supply chains as well as leveraging technology for paperless trade.

In the margins of the event, Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis will also have the opportunity for bilateral meetings, including with Mary Ng, Canadian Trade Minister, US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai; Turkish Trade Minister Ömer Bolat; Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan; and Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry.