EU And India Push FTA
Monday, March 8, 2010
Following his previous visits to first Vietnam and then Singapore, the European
Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, concluded his visit to Asia by
meeting India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma, to give
fresh impetus to an EU-India free trade agreement (FTA).
In a statement issued after the meeting, it was said that both sides expressed
their determination to conclude the FTA negotiations ahead of the EU-India summit
in October, in a way that will address all issues of major concern to both parties.
The Commissioner and the Minister added that they are prepared to hold fresh
talks at their level to ensure that this deadline is respected.
India is an important commercial partner for the EU, with total bilateral trade
in goods of EUR61bn (USD83bn) in 2008. Nevertheless, as India still maintains
substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers that hold trade with the EU below
its potential, the EU and India aim to increase their trade in both goods and
services through the negotiations for a comprehensive FTA that were first launched
in June 2007.
So far, several negotiating rounds have been held. The EU has made it clear
in the past that the FTA will also need to address non-trade questions, including
that of “sustainable development”.