No decision yet on re-starting talks with India, says EU envoy

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Tomasz Kozlowski

European Union reiterates its stand on a ‘comprehensive’ trade agreement

India and the European Union have not taken any decision on restarting the formal negotiating rounds on the Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), said Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of European Union to India.

“There has been a discussion that the talks on BTIA will continue. Our position is very clear that we are keen on completing the BTIA but it has to be a very comprehensive trade agreement,” Kozlowski told BusinessLine.

He said modern day trade agreements are much more “broad-based” and not confined only to tariffs and standards.

“We should be very clear that we will not be able please all sectors. It goes for both the EU and India. But such agreements have strategic importance. This has to be seen from that point of view of achieving overall balance, investment flows, technology transfer and people to people exchanges,” he added.

During the 13th India-EU Summit, held after a gap of four years on March 31, both sides had decided to “further” the negotiations, according to the joint statement.

The formal round of negotiations on the BTIA last took place in 2013. It has been stuck on India’s demand for getting more access into the European market for its professionals under services trade. EU, on the other hand, has been demanding tariff elimination in wines and spirits and auto sector.

Kozlowski also highlighted that some laws of the 28 nations of the EU are formulated by the European Parliament. He said the EU’s trade policy falls under the European Parliament’s ambit and not the EU member States.

“There is no trade policy in general (in the EU). There is one EU trade policy. Of course, the formulation of this policy is a very complicated process with the involvement of the European Council, European Parliament and European Commission but there is only one European trade policy. That’s why only one institution which is in position to negotiate free trade agreements with our partners is the European Commission on the basis of the mandate given by the European Council,” Kozlowski added.

He said even without the BTIA, bilateral trade between has reached nearly €100 billion, but admitted that the pact will unleash the full potential.

Published on April 21, 2016

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