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Cannot isolate trade from investments, climate concerns: Dutch Ambassador

Marten Van den Berg, Netherlands Ambassador for India.

Marten Van den Berg, Netherlands Ambassador for India. | Photo Credit: PICHUMANI K

While negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with any country, It is not possible to isolate trade from related issues such as investments and the climate, stated Netherlands Ambassador to India Marten Van den Berg on Monday.

“We, as Europeans, think that one cannot isolate trade from other very relevant dimensions connected to trade,” Mr. Van den Berg said, when asked if the European Union could not settle for a quick EU-India FTA focussed on areas of mutual agreement, with more thorny issues set aside for separate resolution.

“Economics, trade and investments are very much connected – 70-80% of global trade is connected to investments. If we invest in each other’s societies, you must also have dialogues on how we address environment issues and climate challenges,” he emphasised, adding it did not make economic sense to have just a tariffs-focussed pact.

“Our view is that there is a joint responsibility for the public and private sector to ultimately save our planet. So that’s why we connect trade not only with environment but also trade with social issues”Marten Van den BergDutch Ambassador to India

“Our view is that there is a joint responsibility for the public and private sector to ultimately save our planet. So that’s why we connect trade not only with environment but also trade with social issues,” he said while on a visit to the office of The Hindu.

“When a company does business in a country that does not have an investment protection agreement, then the premium for insurance against risk of investment loss is higher,” he observed. “Companies look for two things – certainty and transparency. An investment protection agreement gives certainty,” he added, highlighting the significance of investment protection in trade negotiations.

“The target [time-frame] to finalise the trade agreement is one year. If we can agree on the investment protection aspect, then that would have a positive impact on investments,” he said.

Asked whether he thought India’s position on the conflict in Ukraine was influenced in part by the West’s response to India’s border problems with China, he said the Dutch government was sensitive to India’s concerns. “We are aware of the tensions and the situation between India and China, and also of China’s position on security issues in the South China Sea. We are very much aware of the maritime security tensions. Netherlands was also one of the few European nations that had a policy paper on the Indo-Pacific that was welcomed by India,” the Ambassador added.


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Printable version | Jul 7, 2022 6:40:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cannot-isolate-trade-from-investments-climate-concerns-dutch-ambassador/article65376460.ece