India, EU to expedite free trade talksFebruary 10th, 2012 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) India and the European Union (EU) have agreed to expedite talks for a broad-based trade and investment agreement and hope to conclude the deal soon, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday.
“Both sides have made considerable progress in the negotiations on the Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement. There are complex issues involved, but we have both agreed to expedite discussions so that we can conclude an agreement at the very earliest,” the prime minister said at the 12th India-EU summit here.
During a joint media interaction with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, the prime minister said the two sides had agreed to find a practical solution to the issues that were holding back the deal.
“We seek solutions that are practical, mutually beneficial and acceptable to both sides,” he said.
India and European Union have been negotiating a broad-based trade and investment deal since 2007.
However, talks are stuck on issues like easing visa regulations for Indian professionals and reduction in tariffs on cars and spirits imported from the EU.
Rompuy also said the two sides had made substantial progress and hoped that an agreement would be reached soon.
None of the leaders gave any time-frame for conclusion of the deal.
The two sides are holding a summit here to strengthen bilateral trade. The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 14 percent of India’s foreign trade.
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