[Ip-health] Economic Times: India willing to go ahead with free trade pact with EU: Nirmala Sitharaman

Shailly Gupta shailly.gupta at geneva.msf.org
Wed Sep 10 21:53:56 PDT 2014



By PTI | 10 Sep, 2014, 07.07PM IST


NEW DELHI: India today said it is willing to go in for a free trade
agreement (FTA) with the
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/European-Union> European Union
but wants the 27-member bloc to address the issues flagged by New Delhi.

"Nothing stops us from doing it but, of course, let him (the EU ambassador)
also come back saying that they are interested...its not as if we are
holding back...," Commerce and Industry
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Minister> Minister
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Nirmala-Sitharaman> Nirmala
Sitharaman told reporters here. 

The EU's main focus at present is on the the mega trade pact - Transatlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). 

The minister said the EU Ambassador had met her recently and the agreement
came up for discussion. 

Launched in June 2007, negotiations between India and the EU for Broadbased
Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) had hit a road block in May last year
as both the sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues. 

For the Indian side, among other issues, granting of data secure nation
status to it by the EU is very crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian
IT companies wanting market access there. India also wants liberalised visa
norms for its professionals and greater market access in services and the
pharmaceuticals sector. 

Besides demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, the EU side is
pressing for tax reduction in wines and spirits and dairy products and a
strong intellectual property regime. 

Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said that negotiations for the pact had
advanced to a significant levels. 

"...if this agreement has to conclude, then the EU has to consider
exposition thats what we have said," Kher said. 

The total trade between India and EU was about $ 103 billion during 2013-14.

On industry apprehensions that FTAs are not benefiting India, he said these
pacts will help increase competitiveness of Indian products. 

He admitted however that few sectors could have been impacted by these

"This is clearly made out that FTAs per se have not adversely affected
manufacturing. Yes, some segments of manufacturing can be affected," he
said, adding that the recent FTA partners have utilised these pacts to the
extent of only 3-28 per cent. 

He also said that at a time when the WTO is not delivering "then in order to
find preferential markets you get into these FTAs". 

India is part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement
but not the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and TTIP. 

Kher said: "...so clearly the choice is if you want to diversify and if you
want to intensify preferential trading, we have to look into markets which
are relatively less exposed and that is why we are proposing Latin America,
Africa, CIS, South Asia, and West Asia. 

"These are the markets which we should utilise either through institutional
mechanism such as PTAs and FTAs or through the sector base cooperation." 




Shailly Gupta

Advocacy & Communication Officer

MSF Access Campaign

K-30, Jangpura Extension

New Delhi - 14





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