EU hopes FTA talks with India will resume soon

Brussels, Aug 7 (IANS) The European Union has expressed the hope that negotiations with India on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will resume soon, and any difficulties on its path will be overcome.

A spokesman for the European Commission, Daniel Rosario, said the executive body of the 28-member European bloc had taken note of India’s decision to defer the joint talks of the chief negotiators on the EU-India FTA.

Speaking to journalists in Brussels, he insisted that the purpose of this meeting at the chief negotiators level later this month was “to explore the possibility of resuming the FTA talks and was not meant in any way a full fledged negotiating round.

“This meeting would be a follow up to the conclusion jointly drawn by EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem and her Indian counterpart at their encounter in Paris in June,” he stated.

“The Commission remains committed to working towards a conclusion of an agreement between India and the EU that will be acceptable to both sides.

“We expect these talks to take place soon and to overcome any deferral that would prevent them from happening,” added the spokesman.

Meanwhile, Sunil Prasad, secretary general of the Brussels-based Europe India Chamber of Commerce (EICC), said he was disappointed the EU-India FTA negotiation had again been derailed.

Prasad said he supported the Indian government decision to defer FTA talks with EU in the light of the European Commission’s ban on the sale and distribution of around 700 generic medicines in the EU countries for alleged manipulation of clinical trials by an Indian pharma company.

Prasad said the issue could have been brought when the negotiators were to meet in New Delhi in a few weeks.

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