Zee News | 17 February 2007
Visa rules for professionals to ease after India-EU FTA
New Delhi, Feb 16: Freer movement of Indian professionals in 25 European Union member countries is likely to be a reality in the near future, as this will be a key point of negotiations in the proposed free trade agreement with EU.
"We appreciate that the issue of free movement of professionals is critical for India and will also feature in negotiations for FTA," Director General for Trade (European Commission) Davis O’Sullivan told reporters.
"Even in WTO negotiations, Europe has been more forthcoming on the issue. However, there are some sensitives in Europe on mode 4 which we will have to manage," he said.
In return, India should also relax restrictions on foreign ownership in services of interest to Europe like retail, financial sector and telecom, he said.
In WTO and other bilateral trade agreements, India has been demanding that professionals, especially in IT, medicine and engineering should be given liberal visas to work on short-term projects.
Sullivan said the negotiations for India-EU FTA would start in April after the Council of Ministers of Europe grants the mandate to the European Commission.
The FTA would aim to cut duties to zero on 90 per cent goods traded between India and Europe.
Although Europe subsidises its farmers heavily, Sullivan allayed fears that India could become a dumping ground for agriculture products. "We understand India’s concerns regarding its subsistence farmers but we do not foresee much problem because Europe is not an exporter of bulk agriculture products," he added.