India taps Poland for access to EU market

July 11th, 2011 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 11 (IANS) India Monday urged Poland, the east European country which holds the rotating European Union presidency, to help resolve trade obstacles for Indian agricultural exports to 27 EU countries as the two countries gear up to expand their economic and strategic ties.

The issue of access for agri-exports figured in discussions between Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who arrived here Monday morning on a three-day visit

“The EU can play an important role in resolving several of our market access issues with the EU including in respect of arbitrary SPS (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary) standards and CCC (chemical residues) in grapes, honey, rice, fish and fishery products,” a statement from the commerce ministry said.

Indian agri-exports to the EU face a clutch of hurdles on the continent on account of use of some chemicals to preserve the products. In 2010, Indian grape and honey consignments were rejected by the European authorities over the presence of a chemical and heavy metals in the products.

The two ministers reviewed the progress of the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), a free trade area pact for which 13 rounds of negotiations have been held since June 2007. “The India-EU BTIA negotiations are in their final leg. Both the sides have intensified negotiations with a view to closing negotiations in 2011,” the statement said.

The EU is India’s biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade estimated to be over $75 billion.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will hold talks with Sikorski Tuesday on a wide array of issues, including trade and investment, defence, terrorism, the EU and the UN reforms.

Sikorski has an old connection with India and wrote for The Statesman, an Indian daily, from Afghanistan where he worked as a journalist.

At the talks, Poland is set to reiterate its support for India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and seek a closer collaboration in combating terrorism emanating from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

“The UN Security Council should reflect the co-relation of forces in the world and India, the most populous democracy in the world, is a natural member of the Security Council,” Sikorski told The Hindu, an Indian daily, in an interview ahead of his visit.

Bilateral relations have been on an upswing, with trade crossing over $1 billion. Top Indian companies, including Tata Consultancy Services, WIPRO, Reliance and Zensar, have set up their business in Poland.

Poland, home to some of the most picturesque landscapes, is also a hot draw with Bollywood producers looking to shoot their films in exotic locales. Indian cuisine, specially Tandoori chicken, has found a fanatic following in Poland.

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