Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday informed the Lok Sabha that the negotiations between India and the European Union (EU) for a free trade agreement (FTA) have been intensified.
“Negotiations across number of tracks including trade in goods, services, investments, government procurement, customs cooperation and trade facilitation, competition and intellectual property rights (IPRs) are under way. Negotiations have been intensified,” he said. So far, 15 rounds of negotiations have been held.
The total trade between India and the 27-nation bloc stood at $94.43 billion during April-February 2012-13. It aggregated to $109.86 billion in 2011-12.
Bilateral trade in goods and services and investment flows would be enhanced from the Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), launched in June 2007. But both the sides are still engaged in bridging the gaps on several issues, he added.
EU is pressing for significant duty cuts in auto, dairy products, wines and spirits besides hike in FDI cap in the insurance sector and a strong intellectual property regime. On the other hand, India wants liberalised visa norms for its professionals, data secure status and market access in services and pharmaceuticals sector.
In a separate reply, Sharma said that India and other like-minded developing countries are negotiating the proposed trade facilitation agreement under the WTO’s Doha Round of trade talks with a view to safeguard and strengthen the interest of developing countries including the least developing nations.