PTI | Dec 17, 2014
EU keen to take restart stalled BTIA negotiations with India
Mumbai: Faced with slowdown and recession in some of its key economies, the European Union has approached India for restarting negotiations on the stalled free trade agreement, a top official has said.
“We have been in engagement in the last year on the Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Agreement with EU, what is called the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA). Now EU has expressed its willingness to start the process again,” Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher has said on the sidelines of the ongoing India Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS), organised by EEPC India, here on Tuesday.
He said India was also willing to re-engage with the EU on the market-opening trade agreement. “So as far as that engagement is concerned, we are clearly waiting for EU to take the first step, because we have already conveyed to EU that we will be prepared to resume the engagement whenever EU feels comfortable with that,” Kher said.
The India-EU trade talks, formally known as the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), remain stuck as the EU is not satisfied with India’s offers in insurance, government purchases and market access for automobiles and wines & spirits. Launched in June 2007, the negotiations for the proposed BTIA have missed several timelines, denying the opportunities of market access to the businesses of the two sides.
If the talks for BTIA resume, they would be the first major economic engagement of the EU with the NDA government. The proposed trade pact is meant not only to liberalise the merchandise trade but also covers services and investment, the areas of great interest to India. The 27 nation bloc is India’s largest trading partner with mutual engagement of around USD 130 billion.