Negotiations on a comprehensive free trade pact between India and the European Union, which began in June 2007, have reached at an “advanced and delicate stage”, Parliament was informed today.
India is in talks with the 27-nation bloc, its biggest trading partner, for liberalising commerce in goods, services and investment through the bilateral Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
“So far, 13 rounds of negotiations have been held...
Legal texts of the proposed agreement in all these areas have been exchanged and are under discussion,” the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia, said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The areas covered under the negotiations include trade in goods, services, investment; technical barriers to trade; customs cooperation; trade facilitation and intellectual property rights, Mr Scindia said.
“Negotiations are at an advanced and delicate stage and both sides are moving towards finding a common landing zone, which meets the objective of a balanced and fair agreement,” he said.
The two sides, which registered $75-billion trade in 2009-10, expect to conclude the negotiations by the end of 2011.
India recently implemented a comprehensive free trade pact with Japan and Malaysia.
In another reply on the country’s rising trade deficit, the Minister said the Government and the RBI have been closely monitoring economic developments in the country and internationally on a continuous basis, with special emphasis on monitoring the performance of the export sectors.
“The merchandise trade deficit is partly adjusted by the trade surplus in services and the rest gets adjusted by remittances, FDI, FII and borrowings (both short and long term),” he said.
India’s trade deficit in 2010-11 stood at Rs 451,544 crore.
During April-June 2011-12, overseas shipments grew 45.7 per cent to $79 billion vis-a-vis the same period last year.