EU, India to take stock of FTA negotiations

Brussels, Aug 5 (IANS) A top trade official of the European Union (EU) said on Tuesday that negotiators from India and the EU will meet in September to take stock of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), which have been in limbo since 2013.

“We started negotiations on a free trade agreement with India few years ago. We had different levels of ambitions, so it has been paused for quite some time,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters here.

Malmstrom said that she met India’s Minister of State (MoS) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman in Paris earlier this year to discuss the issue.

“We discussed that the chief negotiators’ teams would meet in September to take stock of the progress made and whether there is a similar level of ambition to restart the talks. That doesn’t mean it will resume immediately. There will be a stock-taking meeting I think in the first week of September,” she said.

India and the EU have been negotiating the bilateral free trade and investment agreement since June 2007, but after 12 rounds of talks the negotiations were brought to a standstill in 2013.

According to the European Commission, outstanding issues concern market access for some goods, the overall ambition of the services package and a meaningful chapter on government procurement and sustainable development.

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