The EU-India Trade and Technology Council: opportunities and challenges ahead

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Publication Date 24/02/2023
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The European Union (EU) and India have launched a Trade and Technology Council (TTC), a bilateral forum to prioritise their partnership through cooperation in digital governance, green and clean energy technologies, and resilient value chains, trade and investment. The Council is a response to increasing great-power competition and a desire on both sides to bolster their respective strategic autonomies, with the potential to have a significant impact on the EU’s ambitions in the political, economic and technology spheres.

The EU-India TTC opens up a new avenue for cooperation, and in turn entails a number of challenges and opportunities. At a time when the global governance of technology is being shaped by means of ad hoc coalitions and platforms for dialogue –but not yet through international organisations, with the particular exception to some extent of the ITU, the UN agency devoted to ICT governance–, this mechanism is the second of its kind initiated by the EU, the EU-US TTC being the first. It joins the growing list of regional-based initiatives that the EU is launching to address the impact of technology on security, economic(s) and values, such as the Digital Partnerships with Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore, the Joint Commitment to Digital Transformation in the EU-Africa Joint Vision for 2030, and the upcoming EU-LAC Digital Alliance, among others. It falls back on the goals envisioned by the first-ever approach to EU digital diplomacy, released a bare six months ago.

On the Indian side, the TTC is not the first institutionalised platform either. The Quad Initiative, formed by Australia, India, Japan and the US, is the main multilateral group addressing the strategic orientation of trade and technology in the Indo-Pacific. Furthermore, the Biden Administration recently launched a number of cooperation initiatives, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, 5G wireless networks and semiconductors. The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies is the latest move by the US to create alignments and to counter China.

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