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Top EU official pushes trade, investment pact with India

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, India, 2007-02-16

Top EU official pushes trade, investment pact with India

India and the European Union must push for a strong bilateral trade and investment pact even as they continue to play a crucial role to conclude the current round of global trade talks, a top EU official said here Friday.

Speaking to reporters at the beginning of a five-day visit to India, EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner said every effort should be made by New Delhi and Brussels to ensure the success of the ongoing talks at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

She was referring to the effort made by trade ministers of some 30 countries in Davos, Switzerland, last month to revive the global trade talks which have been deadlocked over sharp differences between the developed and the developing world.

’We think we also have to show leadership in WTO because I think WTO is now in a crucial moment and the European Union and India should play a very important role here,’ Ferrero-Waldner said.

She also made it clear that EU alone cannot make compromises and developing countries, led by India and Brazil, must show some movement forward, especially in areas like market access.

’EU has already made great subsidy cuts, whereas Americans still have to do a lot more. But all countries have to compromise - means also India. In fact, India has an important role to play.’

According to the official, who also oversees the European neighbourhood policy, the strong ties with India must also result in a trade and investment pact, even as they push for multilateral trade.

’I think our willingness to move towards negotiations of a bilateral, broad-based trade and investment agreement will complement our commitment to multilateral trade,’ she said.

During her visit, Ferrero-Waldner is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, before travelling to Jaipur and Mumbai.

 Fuente: India PRwire