Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU, India push for trade pact

DNA Money - 1 November 2006

By Priya Ranjan Dash

NEW DELHI: India and the European Union are expected to kick off negotiations for a broad-based trade and investment agreement expected in March next.

The high-level group on trade, co-chaired by commerce secretary G K Pillai, and his EU counterpart will meet next month for preliminary discussions on the proposed agreement.

This time-table for starting the negotiations for the ambitious India-EU trade and investment pact was indicated here on Tuesday evening during a meeting of a five-member delegation from the European Parliament Friends of India (EPFIN) with commerce minister Kamal Nath.

The visit of the delegation, led by Charles Tannock and Jo Leinen, has come barely two weeks after the seventh India-EU Summit at Helsinki, which agreed to launch negotiations for an agreement on trade and investment.

Nath appreciated of the constructive role that the Friends of India Group plays in the European Parliament on issues of importance to India and said he looks forward to suggestions on what more could be done to intensify India-EU interactions.

“India and the EU have much to contribute towards fostering a rule-based international order - be it through the UN or the WTO. We have much in common on many of the challenges that face us today - globalisation, terrorism, energy security and environment,” he said.