India-EU FTA expected to be firmed up by April

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) India and the European Union areexpected to conclude by April the negotiations on abroad-based Free Trade Agreement that will cover temporarymobility of skilled professionals and services besidesintellectual property rights issues.

The agreement will, however, not be signed before thenext India-EU Summit to be held in New Delhi towards the endof this year as certain technical details would still remainto be worked out, EU Ambassador Daniele Smadja said heretoday.

"The main agreement is expected to be firmed up byApril... But we do not expect the agreement to be signed thenas we will need more time... We will have to wait till thenext Summit when the leaders may be able to initial theagreement," she said in an interaction with journalists.

Smadja said the agreement, for which negotiations havebeen going on for last three years, will provide a comfortlevel to both India and the 27-nation EU as intense effortsare underway to have a balance on various issues.

Identifying some of the provisions of the proposed FTA,she said it will cover temporary mobility of professionals andcross-border supply of services, areas which would bebeneficial in India''s context.

Aspects related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) andprotection of data will also form part of the FTA, Smadja saidexplaining that anybody doing business would need to have"confidence that a regulator is going to take care".

It is "extremely important for research and innovation",she said.

She said EU was looking for high level of market accessfor goods in India while the latter would be looking at accessto services and this has to be balanced in negotiations.

In a related development that would be of advantage toIndian professionals, the EU would also be introducing a BlueCard on the pattern of America''s Green Card that will makeeasy the inter-country and inter-corporate movement ofprofessionals in Europe.

To a question, Smadja said the EU was "not focussingever" on child labour in the FTA specifically with regard toIndia.

However, she indicated that this aspect could be includedunder "sustainable development which covers both the socialand economic issues".

The Indian side is "very well aware of our views andconcerns on social and environment protection and EU is awareof constraints on the Indian side. So both are aware of whatwe can expect," she said, adding the efforts would be made tomake both the sides comfortable.

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