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India wants EU to get internal consensus on FTA issues

The Hindu, India

India wants EU to get internal consensus on FTA issues

14 June 2007

New Delhi, June. 14 (PTI): Learning from its Asean experience, India has asked the European Union to reach an internal consensus before putting offers on the negotiating table for the proposed comprehensive trade and investment agreement, for which talks will start later this month.

"Given the diversity of the EU, India wants that they (the member countries) should reconcile to a common position on various trade and investment issues before they come up for negotiations," an official source said.

India and the EU had decided in October last year to sign a trade and investment agreement that would go beyond a traditional FTA.

In its negotiations for FTA with Asean, India faced a lot of difficulties from individual members of the 10-nation bloc on inclusion of palm oil and other agriculture commodities in negative list.

Now that the EU has received mandate from its council of ministers to start negotiations, the meeting in last week of this month would mark the formal launch of official level negotiations.

Sources said that at the initial stage of talks both sides would exchange their wish-lists, broadly listing the items they would like the agreement to cover. The actual list of items on which duties would be reduced to zero would be exchanged in October, they added.

India would like the agreement to cover 90 per cent of trade, which was 40 billion Euros in 2005. In the services agreement, India will press for liberalisation of outsourcing norms and movement of professionals.

Apart from trade in goods and services, the agreement would also deal with non-tariff barriers and lay down rules on issues such as investment and competition.