EU India Summit to be held in Delhi on Nov 30

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New Delhi, Sep 28 (UNI) India and the European Union (EU) will negotiate a broad-based trade and investment agreement at the upcoming EU-India Summit to be held here on November 30.

The two are also exploring how to could update and upgrade the cooperation Agreement on partnership and development, new EU Ambasador to India, Daniele Smadja, said today.

Ms Smadja, who presented her letters of credence to President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday, said she was particularly pleased to arrive in India at a time when the India-EU relations were going from strength to strength.

''I will immediately start working on the upcoming EU-India Summit to be held in New Delhi on November 30 with my colleagues from the EU. I am also looking forward to the negotiations for a broad-based trade and investment agreement with India,'' she said.

The EU has, since 2004, been developing a strategic partnership with India through specific steps listed out under a Joint Action Plan, which was adopted at the EU-India Summit here in 2005.

The Helsinki Summit in 2006, gave the go-ahead for starting negotiations for a bilateral trade and investment agreement.

When completed, this agreement is expected to give a considerable boost to bilateral trade and investment.

Two-way trade between the EU and India crossed 46 billion euros in 2006--equivalent to more than one billion dollars a week, marking a growth of 16 per cent over that of the previous year.

The EU holds the largest share of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow into India at almost three billion dollars in 2006, accounting for one quarter of the total investment.

Significantly, there has been a major jump in India's outward FDI and the EU has become the prime destination for India's outward investment, accounting for an estimated 55 per cent of the total.

EU-India relations have been governed by a Cooperation Agreement on partnership and development signed in 1994.

The first-ever EU-India Summit was held in Lisbon in 2000. Annual summits since then have consolidated and expanded the relationship which covers political relations, trade and investment, development and economic cooperation, science and technology collaboration, civil society links and cultural exchanges, and humanitarian aid.

The Before being appointed Ambassador to India, Ms Smadja was director in charge of multi-lateral relations and Human Rights at the EC External Relations headquarters in Brussels.

She had also served as the EC's Ambassador in Canada and has held many different positions in the External Relations Department of the EC.

UNI

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