India-EU hope to strike trade deal next year


“We agreed to expedite the conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Broad Based Agreement on Trade and Investment that will lead to increased economic opportunities and creation of jobs as well as wealth,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said after the 10th India-EU summit. “We hope that the negotiations could be concluded in a year,” he added.
The PM was addressing a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt, who currently holds the EU presidency, and the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, after the summit that resulted in signing of an agreement for collaboration in Fusion Energy Research.

The EU is the largest trading partner of India. India ranked 10th in the list of the EU’s main trading partners in 2008, up from 15th in 2002. Despite the global slowdown, the EU-India trade in goods and services has doubled over five years to reach almost Euro 77 Billion in 2008. The EU accounts for 21 per cent of India’s total exports and 16 per cent of its imports. India accounts for 2.4 per cent of the EU’s total exports and 1.9 per cent of the EU’s total imports.

India and EU in 2007 launched negotiations for an agreement on free trade in goods and investment and already completed seven rounds. But the road ahead seemed to be bumpy with the EU insisting that non-trade issues like environment and labour should also be included in the negotiations. India, however, has maintained that only the trade issues should be addressed in the negotiations for the proposed agreement.

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