Spain to push for proposed India-European Union trade pac

Source: The Economic Times

3 Feb 2015

The two sides are yet to iron out issues related to tariffs and movement of professionals but the EU has shown an inclination to restart talks.

NEW DELHI: Spain today said it will try to persuade European Commission (EC) to show flexibility while negotiating the free trade agreement with India as the pact is “crucial” for the future of the grouping.

“Spain is fully supporting the FTA with India and…we will pass the message on to the EC since in the last round of negotiations apparently the EC was reluctant to accept some of the positions backed by the Indian government,” Jaime Garcia Legaz, Minister of State for Commerce of Spain, told PTI.

“So we will certainly do our home work in order to try to persuade the EC that we need more flexibility from the European side because this a crucial trade agreement for the future of theEuropean Union,” the minister said.

He was replying to a question about his country’s view on re-starting negotiations for the proposed pact.

Last time in May 2013, both sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on crucial issues, including data security status for IT sector.

Launched in June 2007, negotiations for the proposed Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and the 27-nation European bloc have witnessed many hurdles as both the sides have major differences on crucial issues.

The two sides are yet to iron out issues related to tariffs and movement of professionals but the EU has shown an inclination to restart talks.

Besides demanding significant duty cuts in automobiles, EU wants tax reduction in wines and spirits and dairy products and a strong intellectual property regime.

On the other hand, India is asking for granting data secure nation status to it by EU. The matter is crucial as it will have a bearing on Indian IT companies wanting market access. It also wants liberalised visa norms for its professionals and market access in services and pharmaceuticals sector.

India is among nations not considered data secure by the EU. The EU law mandates that European countries doing outsourcing business with countries that are not certified as data secure have to follow stringent contractual obligations which increases operating costs and affects competitiveness.

The two-way commerce stood at USD 101.5 billion in 2013-14. It was USD 57.25 billion during April-October this fiscal.

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