PM hopeful of materialising trade agreement with EU before next summit

November 30th, 2007 - 9:08 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 30 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed the hope that the trade and investment agreement between India and the European Union would materialise before the next summit meeting.

He said this at a press conference after a meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates at the ongoing EU summit, which is part of India’s ongoing dialogue with the EU for discussions on areas of mutual interest and to build on the strategic partnership with them.

“India and European Union are now engaged in negotiating a broad based trade and investment agreement. Two rounds of discussions have taken place. We are hopeful that by the time next summit takes place, this agreement will be in place and if it does materialize, that would make a further significant contribution to the development of our relationship,” said Singh.

Socrates also sounded optimistic about trade relationship between India and the European Union.

“This was a summit of results and achievements. It was very clear for us that after all these years of cooperation, we achieved several results. In all the programs we made, we achieved results that honour very much both parts. And, the mutual confidence between the two parts is very clear during the summit. These achievements and results are expressed in the two agreements we signed in this ceremony,” said Socrates.

India and the EU expressed their determination to further strengthen the strategic partnership and to cooperate at the global level for the cause of peace, security and sustainable development.

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and the Trade Commissioner of the European Commission, Peter Mandelson, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the first Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) for 2007-2010 earlier in the day.

The European Commission conceptualises multi-annual economic and development cooperation programmes to be implemented in partner countries through their country strategy papers (CSP).

The CSP generally covers two consecutive MIPs of three to four years and the MIP, in turn, defines priorities for spending an indicative budgetary break down for the programme period.

The current CSP is for the period 2007-2013 and the indicative budgetary allocation by the EC is of 460 million euros divided into two MIPs of 260 million and 200 million euros for 2007-2010 and 2011-2013 respectively.

The MoU signed is for the first MIP, the proposed duration for that is from 2007-2010. It is a medium term commitment undertaken by the EU to contribute to the ongoing developmental programmes initiated by the Government of India.

With the support of the EU’s assistance, the MoU is expected to provide further fillip to the ongoing programmes in the health and education sectors in India.

European trade officials want to deepen discussions on sensitive areas with India such as removing barriers to trade in services, intellectual property protection and public procurement, which they say is not transparent.
The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for a fifth of India’s total trade, and is also one of its most important sources of foreign investment. (ANI)

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