FTAs with emerging economies to boost growth in Europe: Cameron

Worried over growing sovereign debt, UK Prime Minister David Cameron today pitched for free trade pacts between EU and emerging economies, including India, to improve demand and promote growth in European nations.

"We can and we must do the same (FTA) with India, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East, the ASEAN block," Cameron said at the annual World Economic Forum here.

"Our first priority must be to kill the spectre of massive sovereign debt," he said while referring to problems of high sovereign debts faced by several European countries like Greece, Poland, Spain and Portugal.

India and the 27-nation European Union are engaged in intense negotiations since 2007 for a comprehensive free trade pact that would include commerce in goods, services and investments. The talks are believed to be in the final stages.

Trade pacts with countries such as India would help in boosting the overall demand in export-oriented Europe, which is seeing slow economic growth.

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) helps the contracting parties to increase their bilateral trade as the customs duty are drastically reduced or eliminated.

Last year, the EU entered into a FTA with South Korea, which is likely to provide 33 billion euros to EU exporters.

"We have the goods the world wants to buy – now let’s have the confidence to strike those deals and sell them," Cameron said, adding that Europe was passing through a difficult situation and unemployment had risen to double-digit level.

Europe’s share of world output is projected to fall by just under a third in the next two decades.

Average government debt in EU is almost 80 per cent of the GDP, he said, adding that emerging economies were doing good.

"Yes, recovery has begun...While economies like India, Brazil and China are steaming ahead……in Europe, the drag on growth has persisted," he said.

On the global trade deal under the aegis of WTO, Cameron said that in 2011, all the members should come together to conclude the Doha Round.

"No more stubbornness. No more hiding offers in back pockets. 2011 is the make or break year (for concluding Doha Round of talks)," he said.

"...We all need to be equally clear about how it’s (WTO) going to happen......Not with more warm words but with more on the table from all sides," he said.

He said all sides should offer "more on the table" in areas, including agriculture and industrial goods.

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