'Maruti not perturbed by EU seeking duty free access to India'

'Maruti not perturbed by EU seeking duty free access to India'

'Maruti not perturbed by EU seeking duty free access to India'
 Contrary to its stance two years ago, India’s largest car maker Maruti is now no more worried about about European Union seeking duty-free access to the Indian car market through a free trade agreement (FTA).

“Car manufacturers , except those in the luxury segment,  have no reason to worry since they cannot compete with Indian firms drawing a big advantage from local components,” Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) chairman RC Bhargava said.

He said that the FTA can instead work in India’s favour by way of access to a vast European car market through a duty-free regime. Such a dispensation would push India’s car exports to a vast European market.

 “Europeans want lower duties on automobiles. My personal view is: I do not believe it will hurt us one bit”, the chairman said. In his view, nobody in Europe can compete with Indian manufacturers with high local content. In fact India is desperately wanting to have access to the European market.

India-EU FTA negotiations  which were launched in 2007 were hit several roadblock since then as both the sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues.

For the Indian side, among other issues, granting of data secure nation status to it by the EU is very crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian IT companies wanting market access there. India also wants liberalised visa norms for its professionals and greater market access in services and the pharmaceuticals sector.

The EU side is pressing for duty cut on automobiles and tax reduction in wines and spirits and dairy products. Maruti had earlier maintained that the government should keep the automobile sector out of the purview of the proposed FTA between India and EU. Maruti had then said that the India-EU FTA could have a negative impact on creation of employment in the country.