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India-EU FTA talks to resume soon
23
Nov '15
Talks on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA), between India and the EU that have been stalled for more than two years, will resume soon, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.

The decision marks the end of acrimony over a ban imposed by the EU on certain generic drugs tested by Hyderabad-based contract research firm GVK Biosciences.

Sitharaman said chief negotiators of India and the EU will meet soon, according to an agency report. Last August, India had cancelled a meeting with the EU chief trade negotiator in protest against an import ban on 700 of GVK's generic drugs for alleged manipulation of clinical trials.

She said that India deferred the talks because EU's action was "unilateral" and was "not right". The Commerce Minister said the Government had written to the EU, and following their response, the two sides will meet again.

In May 2013, India and the EU bloc failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for IT sector.

The proposed FTA has been under negotiations since 2007. Differences over the lack of access for Indian professionals to EU's labour market and high taxes imposed on liquor and car imports from Europe have foiled efforts to reach an accord that is expected to boost trade between India and the EU.

The free trade pact aimed at reducing or significantly eliminating tariffs on goods, facilitate trade in services boost investments between the two sides. The two-way commerce in goods between India and the EU stood at $98.5 billion in 2014-15.

Earlier this month on the eve of the Prime Minister's visit to Britain, Assocham said given the stalemate in the India-EU talks, New Delhi should press for a separate FTA with Britain. Assocham said the delay in the FTA with the EU was costing India dearly and given that India needs easier market access to major markets without delay, the country should go for an FTA with Britain. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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