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India seeks help from Spain to conclude India-EU FTA

Press Trust of India

India seeks help from Spain to conclude India-EU FTA

11 December 2008

New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI) The government has sought help from Spain to conclude a comprehensive trade and investment pact with the European Union by the end of next year, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said today.

Speaking to reporters here after a meeting with Spain’s Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Miguel Sebastian Gascon, Nath said that they discussed the progress on the proposed agreement between India and the 27-nation bloc EU and both agreed on the possibility of completing the deal by next year.

"We have discussed the progress on the India-EU agreement on trade and investment. I have sought the help of Sebastian to see that we are able (to complete the deal)..." "We both feel that it is possible that we have this (deal in place) by the end of next year," he added.

India has concluded negotiations on a free trade agreement with the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations.

India, the world’s second-most populous nation with 110 crore people, and the EU with a population of 500 million, have been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) since October 2006.

The FTA component of the India-EU comprehensive economic cooperation agreement is likely to exclude nearly 150 farm products to shield Indian farmers from increased competition posed by subsidised goods.

The EU is India’s largest economic partner with trade doubling from USD 40.81 billion in 2003 to USD 78.48 billion in 2007.

The minister further said that he has assured Sebastian that the difficulties faced by the Spanish companies in India in regard to non-tariff barriers would be addressed.