European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a press statement in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 13, 2020. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that the European Union (EU) and UK negotiating teams have been mandated to continue the post-Brexit trade talks. After a
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen makes a press statement in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 13, 2020. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that the European Union (EU) and UK negotiating teams have been mandated to continue the post-Brexit trade talks. After a "constructive and useful phone call" with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, von der Leyen said it remains to be seen if an agreement can be reached even "at this late stage." (European Union/Handout via Xinhua)

The European Union and India have agreed to pick back up talks on a free trade deal that were frozen in 2013, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has indicated.

“Between the EU and India there is a close relationship but also a lot of untapped potential,” von der Leyen said on Saturday before talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leading officials.

“The most untapped potential is in trade and investment. Therefore I’m looking forward to … [restarting] negotiations on a free trade agreement, negotiations on an investment protection agreement and … on geographical indications,” the EU executive chief said.

India is currently the world’s second most populous country after China, with more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, but is only the 10th largest trading partner for the EU.

In 2007, the two sides began discussions on a wide-reaching trade and investment agreement, including more market access and fewer tariffs.

But several disagreements, such as over Indian tariffs on cars and wine and over EU labour market restrictions on Indians, brought the negotiations to an end in 2013.

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