Israel wants to include talent sharing in FTA with India
Oct 10 2013 , Mumbai
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who is visiting India, said he is keen to get the proposed trade pact extended to sharing intellectual properties and also call it a "free talent agreement".
Going by the deep interest of India and Israel in education, the proposed FTA should be aimed at attracting talent, which are aplenty in both the countries and not just driving merchandise trade, he said.
Bennett described the proposed pact as a "double FTA and a giant leap and game changer", wherein it also stands for "free-talent agreement".
"The real diamond in the proposed FTA jewel will be talent flows between the two nations. Why we should haggle with visa and all other regulations to share talent? Why can't we allow our students and engineers to take the next flight and reach the destination of his choice to do something productive in each of our countries?"
Asked by when the FTA is likely to be concluded, the visiting Minister said, "it is still being negotiated. There is time to go, it will take a while as there are issues, primarily around tariffs, to be resolved. But I feel we should look at the long-term as the short-term losses will be recovered in the long-run."
India and Israel started FTA talks in 2007, and concluded the seventh round of talks in June this year.
The next round of negotiations will be held in January during the visit of India's Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to the West Asian nation, Bennett said.
He said the current USD 5 billion annual bilateral trade can more than double if the FTA is signed. Currently, the bilateral trade is evenly balanced.
The USD 5 billion trade is excluding defence sales, where Israel is one of the largest suppliers for India.
Bennett, accompanied by a large business delegation, has been on an official tour of India since Monday, and has met with the Finance, Commerce and IT Ministers in New Delhi.