India/EU hope to conclude Trade and Investment Pact by 2008

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Delhi, Nov 30 (UNI) India and the European Union hope to conclude a broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement by 2008 end, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said today.

''We are hopeful that by the time the next summit materialises, we will be in a position to conclude the agreement,'' Dr Singh said at a press conference.

He was speaking to reporters after the conclusion of the Eighth India-EU Summit. The press conference was also addressed by Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates in his capacity as President of the European Council, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

A Joint statement issued after the talks said the leaders of the two sides noted that trade and investment between India and the EU had been growing steadily and reflected the strengthening of bilateral economic ties.

The two sides also took note of the further work of the High Level Trade Group since the last Summit when it was decided to work towards concluding a Broad-Based Trade and Investment Agreement.

They welcomed the progress achieved in the first few rounds of negotiations on the India-EU Trade and Investment Agreement and reaffirmed commitment to further intensify negotiations.

Asserting that the successful and timely outcome of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) multilateral trade negotiations remained their foremost trade policy priority, the two sides expressed the commitment to working closely together to ensure the successful conclusion of the DDA negotiations through a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious outcome in all areas of negotiation.

Both sides agreed that development mandate of the Doha Ministerial Declaration must be honoured and reflected in the modalities being negotiated as also in the final outcome, the Joint Statement said.


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