EU-India FTA pact not to be finalised in near future

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The European Union today said it would not be possible to ink the long-pending free trade pact with India in the near future because of the upcoming General Elections.

"The bad news is that we are not going to be able finalise the agreement with India in the near future as India is in election mode.

"We believe that it will be possible to conclude the trade agreement sometime after the new government is formed so by the end of this year or sometime early 2015," Ambassador of the delegation of European Union to India Joao Cravinho said at a CII conference here.

India and the EU are negotiating the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) since June 2007 and have missed several deadlines to conclude the talks due to differences among the two sides on the level of opening up of the markets.

"Regarding the EU FTA, surely we too are anxious about it. But one or two issues we have to address...The regime of intellectual property and agricultural issues and then textile. Those issues will be very quickly addressed and we are negotiating about it," MoS Commerce & Industry E M S Natchaippan told PTI.

Both India and EU have failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including insurance and data security status for the IT sector.

The EU side has been demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, tax reduction in wines and spirits and dairy products and a stronger intellectual property regime.

On the other hand, India is asking the European Union to grant data secure nation. The matter is crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian IT companies wanting market access.

It also wants liberalised visa norms for its professionals and market access in services and pharmaceutical sector.

The two-way trade between India and EU stood at $ 91.3 billion in 2010-11.

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