India and the European Union are facing “difficulties” relating to the services sector in signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two sides, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders said here today.

Under the FTA in the services sector, India wants the EU to ensure free mobility of professionals without restrictions such as experience, whereas the EU wants greater commitment by India to allow foreign investment in services such as retail, legal and postal.

“With India, we have made progress in certain areas such as in the field of goods. There are more difficulties in services and we are trying to solve it... We want more access for European companies to India and better access to Indian companies there,” Reynders said in a joint press interaction with External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna.

He said both sides were talking to each other and a number of meetings were scheduled to hasten the process towards signing the FTA and hoped that both sides would soon be able to sign it.

The India-EU free trade agreement, officially known as the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), seeks to reduce tariffs on goods and liberalise services and investments provisions.

Asked about the functioning of a ‘Kashmir centre’ allegedly run by anti-India elements in Brussels, the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister said activities of such organisations are followed and if there is a possibility of it working against any country including India, “we will take action”.

(This article was published on August 8, 2012)
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