EU seeks free trade deal with India

December 8th, 2010 - 11:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Brussels, Dec 8 (IANS) European Union (EU) President Herman Van Rompuy said the EU-India summit in Brussels Friday “will deliver great results for the mutual benefit of our people”, as the two sides will deliberate on a wide range of issues, including free trade agreement.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will head the Indian delegation, which also includes Anand Sharma, minister for commerce and industry, and Shiv Shanka Menon, national security advisor.

“We will give fresh momentum to the ongoing negotiations on the trade and investment agreement, which will bring significant economic benefits to both sides and further strengthen our strategic partnership,” Rompuy said in a statement Wednesday ahead of the 11th EU-India summit.

“We will also discuss recent developments aimed at reinforcing global economic governance in particular in the G20 context.”

“Finally, I look forward to launch EU-India cooperation in the field of security, in particular in the area of counter-terrorism,” he added.

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, in a separate statement, said: “I am particularly confident that we will make headway towards a free trade agreement at this summit, bringing together markets of one and a half billion people.”

“We should now give the final push to these talks so we can hail a historic agreement when we meet next year in Delhi,” said the head of the EU’s executive.

“We will also give renewed political impetus to our cooperation in the field of energy. We can do even more to exploit the potential of green and clean technologies together, to the benefit of our citizens and businesses,” noted Barroso.

The summit is expected to strengthen EU-India strategic partnership, in particular through increased cooperation in security and counterterrorism, according to EU diplomatic sources.

The meeting will discuss regional and international issues such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and nuclear proliferation, but the EU will not raise the Kashmir issue, noted the sources.

The 27-member European bloc will be represented by Van Rompuy and Barroso accompanied by the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and Karel De Gucht, the EU trade commissioner.

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